ERC urged to reject Meralco's 7 coal power plants
MANILA, Philippines – Civil society organizations called on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to reject applications filed by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for power supply agreements (PSAs) on 7 coal-fired power plants across the country, which they tagged as "costly" and "dirty."
The Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED); Sanlakas; Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ); Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC); Koalisyong Pabahay ng Pilipinas; as well as other member-organizations of the Power for People Coalition, on Thursday, June 29, filed a petition questioning alleged "irregularities" in the process of application as well as negative consequences if Meralco gets its way.
"The approval of Meralco's PSAs would lead to 3,551 megawatts (MW) of coal entering the pipeline, which would pose great harm to the people's health and livelihood, as well as the environment," CEED convenor Gerry Arances said in front of the ERC office in Pasig City.
"On top of this, Filipinos will end up paying more for electricity if Meralco would have their way," he added.
Arances also claimed the PSAs would force the country to rely on coal for the next two decades. (READ: Meralco's profit flat due to impact of temperature, currency, inflation)
"[This] means that regardless of the trend of decreasing costs for renewable energy technology like solar and wind, the Philippines will be stuck with operating and paying for costlier and dirtier energy from coal," he said.
Coal-fired power plants account for nearly 34.6% of the country's 7,419-MW installed capacity, and about 38.6% of the 6,979-MW dependable capacity as of end-2016, data from the Department of Energy showed.
"About 70% of power projects to go online in 2019 will be from coal. This means by 2021, coal supply will be at least 50% of our energy needs," Arances said.
It was in April 2016 when Meralco sought regulatory approval to source 3,551 MW of its power requirements from 7 companies, including two that are under its subsidiaries. These 7 are:
- Redondo Peninsula Energy Incorporated (225 MW)
- Atimonan One Energy Incorporated (1,200 MW)
- St Raphael Power Generation Corporation (400 MW)
- Central Luzon Premiere Power Corporation (528 MW)
- Mariveles Power Generation Corporation (528 MW)
- Panay Energy Development Corporation (70 MW)
- Global Luzon Energy Development Corporation (600 MW)
FDC's Butch Junia said Meralco's projects should be subjected to the competitive selection process (CSP) to determine if "it is the best and least cost supply for consumers."
"Conveniently for Meralco, ERC had previously reset the CSP's effectivity date last year from November 6, 2016 to April 30, 2016. This would exempt the PSAs from undergoing the transparent and public bidding ordained in the CSP," Junia claimed.
Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan on Thursday said his camp has yet to receive a copy of the petition. "We haven't received it yet. No comment."
Meralco earlier said electricity sales in its service area are seen to rise by a compounded average rate of 3.6% to 3.7%, based on the company's long-term projections. – Chrisee Dela Paz / Rappler.com