MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) stopped yesterday the implementation of the new retail competition and open access (RCOA) policy of the Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) that supposedly limits the accredited suppliers for big power consumers.
In session yesterday, the justices decided to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the new regulations requiring big power consumers to source their electricity supply from any of the 23 retail electricity suppliers (RES) designated by ERC.
The high court granted the immediate relief sought in the petition filed last December by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
The TRO is effective immediately and until further orders, SC spokesman Theodore Te said in a press conference.
“The Court noted that petitioners have established a clear, legal right to the TRO considering that the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) Law provides for the voluntary migration of end-users to the contestable market and there appears to be no basis for the mandatory migration being ordered by the DOE and the ERC through the questioned issuances,” Te explained.
The SC also saw the need to issue the halt order, taking into consideration the Feb. 26 deadline imposed by the ERC on the consumers to forge their contracts with their RES of choice.
The PCCI argued in its petition that the RCOA violated the basic constitutional right to freedom of choice of electricity consumers as it deprived them of the right to choose RES outside ERC’s listed firms.
They stressed that the new regulations do not actually open the power industry nor do they create a fair competition.
PCCI was joined by Ateneo de Manila University, San Beda College (Alabang) and mall owner Riverbanks Development Corp. in filing the petition.
(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 22, 2017 – 12:00am