‘Implementation, not amendment, of Epira needed’

Published by rudy Date posted on June 3, 2014

The Makati Business Club (MBC) has echoed the call of other business groups pushing for proper implementation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), similarly advocating for changes within the regulatory framework without amending the said law.

“We support the view of our colleagues in the other business associations that rather than opening up Epira now for amendments or changes, what is needed is the full implementation of its provisions as written in the law. Further, we believe that opening up Epira now for review and amendments will reinforce concerns about an unstable and unreliable regulatory framework, and these concerns may cause the deferment or cancellation of pending investments in the power sector,” the MBC said in a position paper.

The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc., Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines and the Management Association of the Philippines recently sent a joint position paper to the Department of Energy (DOE), making the same call with regard to Epira.

The MBC is urging the DOE to avoid further delays in the establishment of a reserve market, in compliance with Section 37 of Epira, among other proposals.

The MBC also asked the Energy Regulatory Commission to monitor and take action on anticompetitive behavior in the industry.

Included in MBC’s propositions to the regulatory body are the following:

■ To complete the implementation of the open-access scheme by June 30, 2015, to allow end-users with loads of 750 kilowatt (both single and aggregated loads) and above to source their own power as provided in Section 21 of the Epira;

■ Further accelerate open access through allowing end-users with loads of 500 kw (both single and aggregated loads) and above to source their own power by June 30, 2016.

“To further encourage a competitive market, the privatization of the remaining government power assets and contracts, such as Casecnan, Mount Apo, Pulangi, Steag, Gensan and Zamboanga, should be accelerated by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.,” the MBC said.

Other proposals put forward by the business group include the regular publishing of annual planned outages of power plants of the system operator of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

The National Transmission Co. is also being urged by the organization to revisit the Transmission Development Plan, and move to accelerate implementation of the Leyte-Mindanao underground cable interconnection.

“We implore the government to act decisively and with urgency toward the full implementation of Epira. This would be in the best interest of the Philippines as it protects the national patrimony and consumers by ensuring that competitive market forces continue to prevail,” the group said. –Catherine N. Pillas, Businessmirror

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