By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
House Deputy Minority Floor Leader Carlos Zarate has warned that consumers will suffer from high electricity rates if Meralco is allowed to control bidding terms of references.
Zarate made the statement as he welcomed Meralco’s announcement that it will revise the terms of reference (TOR) for the bidding of its 1,200-megawatt supply requirement in the next 20 years.
Zarate has reiterated call for an independent bidding of Meralco’s supply contracts.
“It is good that Meralco has decided to revise its TOR for the bidding of its 1,200-MW requirement for the next 20 years,” said Zarate.
Under its old bidding terms, Meralco demanded that only new or greenfield generation plants which would operate in 2024 were qualified to bid according to Zarate.
Zarate warned that the previous policy “practically disqualified all other bidders because only Meralco has a greenfield plant that will operate in 2024.”
“This essentially means that no genuine bidding took place as Meralco would be contracting with its wholly-owned subsidiary Atimonan One Energy Inc.,” said Zarate.
Zarate stressed that the Pangilinan-controlled firm’s old bidding scheme “could lead to high electricity rates for consumers and practically defeats our clamor for Meralco to bid out its supply contracts to bidders that could offer energy supply at lower costs,”
Meanwhile, Zarate also reiterated his call for the repeal of Department of Energu Circular No. (DC) 2018-02-003, which has “practically eliminated an independent third party mandated to supervise transparent power supply bidding.”
Zaraned cautioned the government that the elimination of this independent third party has provided distribution utilities (DUs), like Meralco, the “illegal opportunity to self-deal with their own power generation companies to the detriment of the public.”
“That’s why we sent an earlier letter to the DOE to request a repeal of DC 2018-02-003. In the same letter, dated Aug.15, 2019, we requested that, at the very least, the DOE should revert to DOE Circular 2015-06-008, which allows for an independent third-party auctioneer not appointed by Meralco,” he said.