Palace: ERC to continue probe into possible collusion

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2014 04:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2014 02:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang assured the public that the Energy Regulatory Commission will pursue its investigation of the alleged collusion that led to higher power rates.

This after the ERC invalidated the expensive power rates imposed by power industry players in Luzon following the Malampaya plant shutdown last year.

"Ang title ng kanilang order, 'yung last portion ng title -'yung first portion is voiding the rates at 'yung last portion nakalagay doon 'without prejudice to the ongoing investigation on alleged collusion or abuse of market power.' So, as far as they are concerned, ongoing pa 'yon," Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma said.

Pressed further if this means that the ERC will continue to investigate the accountability of those behind the increase of rates, Coloma said, "Ipinapakita ng ERC na ginagampanan nila 'yung kanilang tungkulin at patuloy nilang gagampanan ito kung ano pa 'yung kinakailangang follow through measures. Isinasaalang-alang lang nila, sa pakiwari ko, 'yung umiiral pang temporary restraining order dahil kailangang igalang ito."

Coloma believes the ERC ruling will mean lower electricity rates.

"Sinabi nila kaya sila nag-exercise ng regulatory power nila is to stop the imposition of 'excessive, exorbitant, unreasonable, or very high prices.' Evident naman doon," he said.

"We note the manifestation made today by the Energy Regulatory Commission to the Supreme Court regarding its March 3, 2014 order, ruling that the prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market during the period covering the Malampaya shutdown could not qualify as 'reasonable, rational, and competitive'."