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TUCP dares Ducut to name con men in electricity price manipulation

March 26, 2014

QUEZON CITY – The March 3 order by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to recompute the generation price at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) for November and December 2013 for purposes of determining the Meralco tariffs clearly found evidence of market abuse, manipulation and collusion by many of the power industry players, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said yesterday.

“We, thus, dare ERC Chairman Zenaida Ducut to identify these con men guilty of colluding and gaming the electricity market. ERC exercises police powers but has not identified who is accountable. This recomputation seems to be a trick, a snow job and purely for show unless she identifies these crooks. If she cannot name them, she rather resign and let someone else do it in the name of 5.3 million Meralco customers,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, adding: “These are the same people who have been driving up power rates for the last 12 years and ERC should send them to jail.”

Last week, PEMC came up with rates increase computation of P2.43/kwh and P3.02/kwh for the two billing periods and said that the final computation still depends on Meralco. This was later disputed by ERC, showing that the increase should only be P0.33/kwh to P0.43/kwh.

Seno said it is important for ERC to redeem its 12-year inutility as a regulatory body by naming and prosecuting who gamed the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and who colluded against public interest.

“They are the same con men in the guise of Independent Power Producers investors who have made our power rates the third highest in the world. ERC exercises police powers but found no one to hold accountable. This is not the ‘Tuwid Na Daan’ but political accommodation. Command responsibility rest in the hands of Ms. Ducut,” Seno stressed.

The ERC on March 3, 2014 denied the petition of Meralco to increase its pass-through generation charge by P4.15/kwh and P5.33/kwh for December 2013 and January 2014 billings respectively because of evidence of alleged gaming at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

He also noted ERC regulatory rulings and calculations of allowable rate are regarded by Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) and Meralco merely as suggestion and not mandatory.