Weather or collusive acts? Antitrust watchdog probes power outages


Posted at Jun 16 2021 10:12 AM | Updated as of Jun 16 2021 10:45 AM

MANILA - The Philippine Competition Commission is investigating whether recent power outages in the country were due to collusive practices or natural causes.

Outages can result from "collusive" acts but it can also be from natural causes such as weather disturbance which is no longer covered by its mandate, PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan told ANC.

"We’re working closely with other agencies of the government...We will do as fast as we can to contribute to the resolution of this case," he said.

The Luzon grid was placed on red alert in late May-early June due to insufficient power supply brought about by high demand. 

Lawmakers said there could be accountability on the part of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines for failing to ensure power reserves and on the part of the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission for failure to enforce policies. 

Investigations are currently ongoing. 

Balisacan said the energy, pharmaceuticals, digital economy as well as food sectors are "high in our agenda and our priority for this year."

Meanwhile, the review of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp acquisition of a stake in the Malampaya gas plant could take "longer than a normal case" due to the suspension of mergers and acquisition reviews as provisioned by Bayanihan 2. 

Last October 2020, the PCC said Bayanihan 2 Sec. 4 (eee) exempted transactions with values below P50 billion if entered within 2 years from the effectivity of the country's second coronavirus response law.

It also suspended the PCC's exercise of motu proprio review of these transactions for 1 year, the PCC said in a statement.

Balisacan, however, assured the public that they continue to monitor mergers and acquisitions.

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