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Energy agency cuts backlog of pending capex cases

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) was able to act on applications from electricity distribution utilities and other power industry players to be allowed to spend capital investments totaling P26.4 billion over the past seven months.

This whittles down the ERC’s backlog of pending cases, which its chair Agnes Devanadera earlier said involved a total of about P1.59 trillion in investments from both local and foreign entities.

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Floresinda B. Digal, who heads the ERC’s regulatory operations services, said there were still 182 pending cases related to capital expenditures.

“Since September 2018, the Commission has approved capex cases valued at a total of P26.35 billion,” Digal said.

The lawyer said that, for capex cases alone, the ERC had 10 technical personnel assigned to evaluate the voluminous documents involved.

There are also 454 cases related to power supply agreements (PSAs) that need further action from the ERC—including 154 cases that would affect whether or not power plants would be built.

Digal said the ERC had 14 technical personnel evaluating PSA-related cases, each of which takes 90 to 180 days to evaluate.

But while the ERC has been steadily reducing its backlog, a decision of the Supreme Court to require competitive bidding for seven PSAs involving Manila Electric Co. is expected to add to the regulator’s pile of uncompleted work.

Devanadera said the High Court’s decision would affect about 90 contracts between distribution utilities and generation companies, similar to those of Meralco’s.

Last week, the Supreme Court said in a statement all PSAs that power distributors submitted to the ERC on or after June 30, 2015, should be subjected to a competitive selection process.

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