DOE, PCC team up for drive to protect power consumers
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) and Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) have teamed up to step up consumer welfare protection in the energy industry.

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi and PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on coordination and cooperation to promote market competition and coordinate investigations in the power sector.

Cusi said the energy industry has seen continued growth in demand due to the improvement of the economy and the development not only in Metro Manila, but also in the provinces. However, supply has not yet caught up with the demand growth.

The agency is working towards creating a more transparent and competitive energy industry, DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.

Fuentebella said the partnership with PCC would help “uphold the common goal which is to provide fair services and reasonably priced energy.”

Meanwhile, Balisacan said both agencies share a common vision of a more robust competition landscape in the power industry.

“With the energy department having the technical assets and ensuring proper functioning of the energy sector, we are confident this complementation of efforts with PCC’s own investigative capacity will lead to a stronger push for competition enforcement,” he said.

Under the MOA, both agencies will provide collaborative mechanisms where the PCC and DOE can count on information sharing, investigation support, technical audits, joint task forces, and continued capacity-building and consultations.

It also paves the way for the creation of a technical working group to coordinate investigation efforts into alleged collusions or abuses of dominance in the energy sector.

Last April, the PCC said it would look into allegations of possible collusion or abuse of dominance of certain power generators following simultaneous shutdowns that may have caused an artificial supply shortage and consequently a hike in electricity prices.

The DOE is tasked with implementing policies to ensure reliability, quality and security of supply of electric power.

On the other hand, the PCC, as the country’s competition authority, is mandated to prohibit anticompetitive agreements and impose fines and penalties for violators.

The PCC has warned power generation companies against engaging in anticompetitive or collusive behavior which is punishable by the competition law with fines of up to P250 million, and imprisonment of responsible officers of up to seven years.

The MOA between the DOE and PCC is the latest in a string of partnerships with government agencies and institutions in strengthening a coordinated, inter-agency approach to promote fair market competition.

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