Large electricity users can choose power suppliers by December

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Large electricity users will finally be able to choose their own power suppliers beginning December 26, when the government implements the open access system.

In a decision dated June 6, the Energy Regulatory Commission said that day would “mark the commencement of the full operations of the competitive retail electricity market in Luzon and Visayas.”

“All electricity end-users with an average monthly peak demand of 1 megawatt for the 12 months preceding Dec. 26, 2011, should have the right to choose their own electricity suppliers and are, thus, enjoined to exercise such right to their full benefit,” the ERC explained.

Initially, only large power users will be able to choose their power suppliers. However, households will eventually enjoy the same arrangement later. Under the current system, consumers have no choice but get power from the suppliers that have jurisdiction over their respective areas.

The open access regime is expected to further encourage competition among power industry stakeholders, resulting in fair electricity prices.

ERC executive director Francis Saturnino Juan, however, is encouraging large power customers to start looking for and contracting with suppliers of their choice as early as now.

The ERC decision further assured the public that there was sufficient power supply to meet the surge in demand to be brought about by the open access regime.

The ERC, the decision stated, also directed NGCP (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines) to submit its list of projects aimed at improving the transmission capacity of the Luzon and Visayas grids.

The decision identified as another important component of the retail market the customer switching system. This should be supported by a business-to-business system that will be maintained and operated by an entity managing the central registry for the retail market. The B2B system is intended to be an information technology supported hub for retail market participants mainly for information exchange for switching, billing and settlement purposes.

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