ERC to revive plan to set up electricity spot market

PASIG CITY (MindaNews / 17 January) — Anticipating a stable electricity supply , the Energy Regulatory Commission said it is reviving a plan to set up the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao.

ERC Commissioner Josefina Patricia Asirit said they anticipate a stable energy supply for Mindanao after the 300-megawatt Therma South Project went operational early this month.

Asirit said they are also expecting the 500 megawatt coal plant of Filinvest Development Corporation to be operational by the end of 2016.

“With more power plants going operational, we are reviving the plan to maximize the use of energy,” Asirit told reporters during a forum here Friday.

Asirit said the spot market would ensure that excess power supply contracted by distributors would be made available to other utilities, too.

She said the ERC and the Department of Energy are trying to resolve the issues raised by Mindanao power cooperatives that earlier expressed fears that the spot market will only spike electricity costs by as much as P32 per kilowatt hour instead of lowering it.

“The cooperatives are not opposed to the establishment of the spot market. We are fixing the issues in provisional billings which they are opposing,” Asirit said.

But Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd district, Cagayan de Oro) reminded the ERC and the DOE that the resolution from the House of Representatives’ Energy Committee prohibiting its implementation is still in effect.

Rodriguez said the House committee issued the resolution after Mindanao cooperatives and utility distributors opposed the plan during a public hearing in Cagayan de Oro in March 2014.

“I will immediately ask for an investigation if they will defy our resolution,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said it is not true that the power supply will stabilize with the coming in of two coal plants this year.

He said there is still a distribution problem which the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines needs to solve to stop the bombing of its transmission towers.

Rodriguez said the opposition from Mindanao’s cooperatives and utility firms on the prohibitive administrative costs of the spot market has yet to be resolved by the ERC and DOE. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)