SC: All power supply agreements filed before ERC on or after June 30, 2015 must undergo competitive selection process

(Eagle News)–The Supreme Court has ruled that  all Power Supply Agreements submitted by Distribution Utilities with the Energy Regulatory Commission on or after  June 30, 2015 must undergo a competitive selection process (CSP).

This was after the High Court ruled that the ERC committed grave abuse of discretion  amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it unilaterally postponed the effectivity of the CSP requirement by issuing ERC Resolution No. 13 and ERC Resolution No. 1.

The first set the cut-off date for the compliance of the CSP requirement to  November 7, 2015 instead of  June 30, 2015, effectively postponing the implementation of the provisions of the 2015 DOE Circular requiring the conduct of CSPs in the purchase of electricity by the DUs by 130 days.

The second  restated that the effectivity of the CSP requirement for PSAs is on April 30, 2016 instead of  November 7, 2015, as previously set in ERC Resolution No. 13.

With the issuance of both resolutions, the implementation of the CSP was effectively postponed for a total of 305 days, from  June 30, 2015 to  April 29, 2016.

“The ERC’s delegated authority is limited to implementing or executing (CSP) in accordance with the 2015 DOE Circular, not postponing CSP so as to freeze CSP for at least 20 years, effectively suspending CSP for one entire generation of Filipinos. The delegated authority to implement CSP does not include the authority to postpone or suspend CSP for 20 years, beyond the seven-year terms of office of the ERC Commissioners postponing or suspending the CSP, and beyond the seven-year terms of office of their next successors, as well as beyond the six-year terms of office of three Presidents of the Republic,” the SC said.

As a result, all PSA applications submitted by the DUs on or after  June 30, 2015 are required to comply with the CSP in accordance with the 2015 DOE Circular.

Thereafter, the SC also ordered that the power purchase cost after compliance with the CSP shall retroact to the date of the effectivity of the PSA, but in no case earlier than June 30 2015, “for purposes of passing the purchase cost to the consumers.”

Justices Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and      Andres Reyes, Jr. dissented while Justice Francis Jardeleza abstained.

The decision stemmed from the case filed by Alyansa Para Sa Bagong Pilipinas, Inc., represented by Evelyn V. Jallorin and Noel Villones  against the ERC then-represented by Jose Vicente Salazar, the Department of Energy, represented by Alfonso  Cusi, Meralco, among others.