Generators deny agreeing to Meralco deferred payments
MANILA, Philippines—Power generators on Thursday denied they agreed to the Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) request to defer its payments, after the Supreme Court ordered the temporary halting of its P4.15 per kilowatt hour (kwh) price hike.
“I would just like to clarify…we did not agree to an extension of the payments to us from Meralco,” Ernesto Pantangco, executive vice president of the First Gen Corporation, said during a Senate probe on the said hike.
He said during the shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas plant, which supposedly resulted in energy supply shortages, Meralco asked them to run their power plants using liquid fuel.
“And we do not see any reason why Meralco should not pay for the purchases made in accordance to their instructions. This is covered by our bilateral agreement,” he said.
Meralco earlier warned that its customers would experience rotational blackouts because of the price hike TRO and its inability to pay for generation charges.
Pantangco said there is also no agreement to defer any payments to them for energy bought through the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). This is amid the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation’s (PEMC) statement during the Senate hearing that some of the generators agreed to the deferment of payments until the TRO is lifted.
Luis Miguel Aboitiz, Philippine Independent Power Producers Associations (PIPPA) president, said Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla once called for an informal meeting with several generators where they discussed Meralco’s request for their payments to be allowed to be deferred.
“However, the letter was addressed to the DoE (Department of Energy) secretary,” Aboitiz said.
“Essentially there was no response from the generators. It was agreed that any bilaterals should be an agreement directly between the party and Meralco and not through a meeting such as the one set-up,” he added.
He said it was also Petilla who asked them to allow the deferment of payments for energy sold to Meralco through the WESM.
San Miguel Global Power Holdings Corp. general manager Ellen Go said they were also not paid by Meralco.
“So meron pa ho silang balance na P900 million (So they still have a balance of P900 million). That is contractually obligated by Meralco,” she said.
But Petilla said the public should not be alarmed and worry that there would be rotating blackouts.
“From the generators whom I actually discussed this matter, (they said) that is far from happening. What will happen probably they will charge more or they will charge with interest,” he said.