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ERC lauds launch of power retail aggregation scheme

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has lauded the pilot implementation of the Electric Retail Aggregation Program at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

The scheme, it said, would enable consumers to choose electricity supplier that offers better rates and services.

“We have just promulgated the rules for the Electric Retail Aggregation Program, which is another means of empowering consumers to exercise their freedom of choice,” ERC chairperson and CEO Agnes Devanadera said during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between UP and the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

Meralco, ERC and UP have teamed up to pilot retail aggregation, which will allow the state university to choose its preferred supplier of electricity for the combined power requirements of the various buildings in its Diliman campus.

The new scheme, which will be done in phases, will cover all 149 customer accounts within the campus with a combined demand of 4.27 megawatts (MW).

UP president Danilo Concepcion said this “will lead to lower electricity consumption costs, more savings, and a more efficient means of measuring the campus’ electricity consumption.”

“For the entire university system, this is a way for us to fulfill our mandate to harness our resources, including our campuses and academic community, toward our quest for national development, by supporting the initiatives of our government agencies, our private sector, and our communities,” he said.

Under the partnership, Meralco proposed the use of meters with remote data collection capability and electronic tabulation of individual readings of buildings within the campus, which will also minimize incremental costs.

“True to Meralco’s commitment and mandate to provide excellent and tailor-fit services to our customers, we are delighted to be part of this pilot to explore ways of expanding customer choice through retail aggregation,” Meralco first vice president and head of regulatory management office Jose Ronald Valles said.

The Retail Aggregation Program is a scheme provided under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) wherein two or more electricity end-users within a contiguous area can join together to pool their demand and be treated as a single contestable customer, thereby enabling it to participate in Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA).

RCOA is a policy provided under EPIRA that allows electricity end-users classified by the ERC as a contestable customer—or those whose peak demand is within the threshold level of contestability—to directly negotiate its power rates and secure retail electricity supply contract with its preferred supplier.

Meralco and UP Diliman initiated this pilot implementation to ensure the smooth and orderly participation of the university in RCOA, consistent with the detailed rules on retail aggregation recently approved by the ERC.

Aggregation of the electricity requirements of end-users, whose total monthly average peak demand is at least 500 kilowatts (kW) within a contiguous area, will take effect on Dec. 26.

“We would like to recognize the ERC for its instrumental role in this partnership, particularly by the promulgation of the necessary rules and regulations governing retail aggregation. Their guidance and oversight have shaped both this pilot implementation and retail aggregation for the rest of the country. Beyond retail aggregation, we are hopeful that this project will be the first of many initiatives where Meralco can work with the ERC and University of the Philippines to bring innovation and customer empowerment to our kababayans,’’ Valles said.

ERC

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