WESM operator: We’re the only experts in the field
The Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines Inc. (IEMOP) is the only organization in the country with the qualifications to run the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM), according to the private firm’s chief operating officer.
IEMOP COO Robinson Descanzo said this in an interview, reacting to statements made by Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party list Rep. Jericho Nograles, who questioned the company’s financial fitness to run the WESM.
Last week, Nograles alleged IEMOP got the contract to run the WESM without going through competitive bidding. He claimed the firm’s capitalization was only P7,000 even as it earned hundreds of millions as WESM operator.
Descanzo deferred comments on Nograles’ allegations, but said that most IEMOP employees were formerly employed with the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), the firm’s state-run predecessor.
IEMOP took over the management of the WESM from PEMC in September 2018, following the Electric Power Industry Reform Act’s (Epira) provision that the market should be run independently.
“Almost 70 percent of our people have been here (power generation market) since Day 1, some of them even before the WESM was established,” Descanzo said.
“There is no other entity that has the capacity to do what we do,” he added.
Last week, the Department of Energy (DOE) said there was a “sweetheart deal” as the the engagement of IEMOP was done through a transition plan that was followed in accordance with the Epira.
In a statement, the DOE said the IEMOP did not have to go through the competitive selection process, since the law only required such if involving foreign participants and had the independent market operator been created in 2007.The entry of IEMOP happened 17 years after the enactment of the law and 12 years after the WESM started commercial operations.
“The DOE opted to create a separate entity composed of Filipinos who have acquired the necessary expertise to operate the WESM and ensure that the market will be managed by Filipinos,” the agency said.