ERC yet to conclude probe on 2013 power rate hike

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 15 2014 03:52 PM | Updated as of Dec 15 2014 11:52 PM

MANILA - Consumers will have to wait longer before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) releases the results of its probe on why prices of electricity hit the roof for the November and December 2013 generation.

More than a year has passed and yet the ERC investigating unit is not finished with the probe of whether or not there was collusion among power generators that pushed prices up.

"We are hoping it will be released first quarter of 2015," said ERC executive director Francis Juan.

Juan said preliminarily, the investing unit had already said that generation companies withheld capacities and violated some rules but Juan said this does not follow automatically that there was collusion or anti-competitive behavior in some power players.

The whole process will even take a long while to finish since the result of the probe will still have to be filed with the ERC and parties to be named will be given the chance to defend itself in the series of hearings.

No secondary cap now

The ERC has also announced that the secondary cap on the prices of electricity in the spot market has expired last December 8.

The commission is coming up with a more permanent cap within the week but Juan said there is no danger of electricity prices going up as demand remains low and there is enough electricity supply.

Fuel price reduction to power rates

The ERC also said generation companies should lower the price of electricity if the fuel they use includes diesel or bunker fuel.

Juan added this is stipulated in the contract between generators and distribution utility.

Aside from the bunker or diesel-run plants, facilities running electricity on natural gas should also sell power at a lower price as natural gas is also pegged on crude oil prices. Even coal prices follow the trend of decreasing world prices.