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Friday, July 19, 2024

ERC approves staggered payment for DU purchases at WESM

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The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Thursday approved the staggered payment of Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) purchases by distribution utilities (DUs) for four months starting in June.

The ERC said it is set to issue an order to the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), operator of the WESM, and the DUs to immediately implement the payment scheme.

It said it would also direct the IEMOP not to impose penalties on DUs as a result of the arrangement.

“By proactively monitoring generation costs of all power utilities, the ERC aims, through this measure, to mitigate the impact of the high generation rates particularly for consumers of DUs with high WESM exposure amidst the recent heat waves in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and a series of red and yellow alerts in the Luzon and Visayas Grids,” the ERC said.

It said that under the Article 32 of the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers (MCREC), DUs could offer alternative payment options to consumers under terms mutually acceptable to both parties.

“Consumers, who have the right to be informed of these options and other matters affecting their electric service, should contact their respective DUs for information on the available alternative payment options or to request for special payment terms to settle their unpaid bills,” the regulator said.

The ERC issued the statement after Manila Electric Co. announced an increase in the June rates by P0.6436 per kilowatt-hour, driven largely by the higher WESM charges.

Meralco WESM charges went up by P1.5203 per kWh due to tight supply conditions in May. Meralco sourced 33 percent of its power supply requirements from the WESM last month.

“We will wait for the official and final order to determine our next steps. Rest assured we will carefully study the ERC’s order,” Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriga said.

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