BAYAN Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said recently that it will serve well the scandal-wracked Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) if all its commissioners resign now considering the numerous anomalies and issues of graft and corruption being leveled at the commission.
“One of the most controversial among these deals is the midnight deal on seven (7) power supply agreements (PSA) of Meralco-affiliated power generation companies which would largely benefit Meralco.
The ERC issued the anomalous extension of the deadline requiring competitive bidding in the power supply agreements (PSA) of distribution utilities (DUs),” said the progressive solon.
“The extended deadline, as proposed by Commissioner Josefina Magpale-Asirit, allowed Meralco to enter into “sweetheart PSA deals” with its seven (7) sister and affiliated companies,” he added.
“Dahil dito hinayaang maging monopolyo at matali sa Meralco ang mga konsyumers for the next 20-25 years ng walang bidding. The extension effectively rendered the competitive selection process (CSP) useless and inutile,” said the Davao-based solon.
Meanwhile, ERC Chair Jose Vicente Salazar is also facing charges of corruption that supposedly drove then ERC Dir. Jun Villa to commit suicide last November.
“As it is, they have failed to safeguard of the welfare of electricity consumers and power rate hikes are not being stopped by the ERC. While Congress is now investigating the anomalies in the ERC and bills to replace the onerous Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) the ERC should be manned by people with integrity and competence to protect consumers,” ended Rep. Zarate.
Recently, the National Multisectoral Coalition Sanlakas filed a graft complaint against some officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in relation to Meralco’s power supply agreements.
The group is accusing four ERC commissioners of deliberately adjusting rules and implementation of the competitive selection process (CSP). This has favored distribution utilities including Meralco.
“It should have been implemented in November 2015 but by March 2016, allegedly since the distribution facilities wrote to them, it was suspended and the implementation was extended. It was suspended until April 30 of last year,” Sanlakas Secretary-General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa said.
The group also argued that under DOE/ERC Resolution No. 13, all power requirements of all distribution utilities were to be procured by competitive bidding starting November 2015.
However, no such process happened because of the adjustment of CSP rules.
“There should have public bidding, meaning, it should have been transparent to be sure that the power to be procured is less expensive,” Atty. Pedrosa said.
Pedrosa added it is the consumers that are affected by the undue advantage given by ERC to Meralco.
“The price of electricity will increase. It means that since there was no bidding, the previous arrangement will be followed in which Meralco talks to a generation company, in this case, its sister companies. They will enter into an agreement and set prices. And in the next 20 years, that will be the price of electricity,” he said. (with– Leslie Longboen | UNTV News and Rescue)
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