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Monday, March 4, 2024

Regulators ask Meralco to refrain from anti-competitive practices

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The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has cautioned the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to keep out of anti-competitive practices, particularly citing the on-going competitive selection process (CSP) for 1800-megawatt (MW) baseload capacity.

Meanwhile, Meralco strongly denied allegations by Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez that the distribution utility has been overcharging its customers starting 2012.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises on Wednesday, ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta said Meralco was told to make sure it is not unduly limiting the number of potential bidders. 

Dimalanta said a letter was already sent to Meralco stating the ERC’s observations on the published bid invite.

 At least six companies are vying for the CSP.  These are GNPower Dinginin (GNPD), First NatGas Power, SP New Energy, Mariveles Power Generation, Excellent Energy Resources and Masinloc Power Partners.

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 “We already raised with Meralco our concerns on the limited number of potential participants that could participate (to the CSP),” Dimanlata told the lawmakers.

As the regulator of the power industry, Dimalanta said the ERC is mandated to promote competition, encourage market development, ensure customer choice, and penalize errant power firms.

During the hearing, Fernandez pointed out that the terms of reference for the CSP allegedly favors  certain power firms since the power plants that could join the auction are those that should be in commercial operation not earlier than January 2020 but not later than May 2025.

“That is also our concern, so we laid it out to Meralco in our letter to them that we will submit to the committee,” Dimalanta said.

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