Probe into anti-competition practices of power firms eyed

March 1, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 138 views

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian expressed hope an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) joint task force created to investigate alleged anti-competitive practices within the power sector will resolve the issue and protect the interests of energy consumers.

“I am confident that the task force would work to resolve anti-competitive issues relating to the industry. I am hoping that the collaboration itself would be a deterrent of anti-competitive practices and in the process, help establish market dynamics that would protect the interest of our consumers,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Energy, pointed out that the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), which was enacted in 2001, regulates competition in the power industry, and prohibits participants in the electricity industry from engaging in any anti-competitive behavior including, but not limited to, cross-subsidization, price, or market manipulation, and imposes limits on ownership and control by related companies, of installed generating capacity.

However, even ERC has admitted difficulty in addressing anti-competitive issues hounding the industry such as those involving industry players trading their generated capacities in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

“Policies that promote competition are there for a good reason and that is to prevent anti-competitive practices that often result in higher costs to consumers and additional costs incurred by other players,” he said.

“Inaasahan natin na ang pagtutulungan ng ERC at PCC ay magpapalakas sa kakayahan ng gobyerno na suriin ang mga kahinahinalang gawain sa industriya at ibayong maipatupad ang mga polisiya hinggil sa patas na kompetisyon para sa kapakinabangan ng mga konsyumer,” he added.