ERC Vows Transparent Process in Its Evaluation of WESM Fees

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Byline: MYRNA M. VELASCO

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has assured industry stakeholders and the general public that it settles on a very transparent process in the deliberations and evaluation of the application on market fees for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

In the wake of relentless questions hurled by consumer groups on various rulings handed down by the regulatory body, ERC chairman Rodolfo B. Albano, Jr. averred that the ERC "will remain standing in the middle, balancing the interests of all stakeholders of the electric power industry."

As it has already started public hearings on the Philippine Electricity Market Corporationas application for trading fees at the spot market, the ERC chief noted that this will be subject to careful evaluation, so it would be in no doubt that the final ruling conforms with the WESM rules.

He explained that one critical balancing act the ERC shall uphold is the prescription under Clause 2.10.3 of the WESM Rules, mandating that to the extent practicable, the fees shall consider the budgeted revenue requirements of the Market Operator and the PEM Board, and "will not favor or discriminate against any category of WESM members, and the structure of the market fees is transparent."

The regulatory body held first round of public hearings on the proposed WESM fees last February 1. As proffered, the structure of the fees shall be categorized into two: The onetime market registration fee (MRF) paid on an annual basis by market participants; and the market transaction fees (MTF) to be charged on a per kilowatt hour (kWh) basis covering the total metered volume of electricity traded in the market.

The legal ground for the imposition of WESM fees is underpinned under Section 30 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) stating that "the cost of administering and operating the WESM shall be recovered by the market operator through a charge imposed to all market members"; that shall be approved by the ERC. …