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Review of Napocor’s power utility ops sought

Citing recurring power outages not only in Luzon but also in Mindanao, a lawmaker called yesterday for a review of the operations of small power utility groups of the National Power Corp......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarJan 24th, 2023

AboitizPower utilities score tech win for use of A.I.

An artificial intelligence-enabled software developed by Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) distribution utilities Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. and Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (Visayan Electric) with Aboitiz Data Innovation Pte. Ltd. gained recognition for helping advance technology and digital transformation in the utility industry. ADI was awarded the Philippines Technology Excellence Award for A.I. - Utilities in the Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand for Project A.I. CU (“I see you”), a homegrown idea that began in Davao Light. The project utilizes A.I. to optically scan images of electrical installation components — like those mounted on electrical poles — and check if these align with the records of a distribution utility. After a series of pilot tests in Davao Light, the software was able to identify and tag the asset by its individual and unique compatible unit (CU) number which was manually assigned to it beforehand. Each CU represents a grouping of electrical items that a certain electrical asset is composed of. Grouping materials and categorizing assets makes it easier for distribution utilities to identify their infrastructure. Overall, verifying the accuracy of records ensures regulatory compliance, better asset management, operational efficiency, and the continued trust that a distribution utility can deliver justified and cost-effective electricity prices in its franchise area. The use of A.I. to recognize CUs can also significantly reduce the need for manpower and rendered work hours, allowing team members to dedicate time and effort to other activities. Typically, trained engineers are sent to each electrical installation and visually identify each item installed. “The inspiration for Project A.I. CU goes beyond streamlining asset verification. This initiative serves as a window into how we are leveraging artificial intelligence to transform our operations, making them more efficient and smarter,” said Davao Light Meter Shop Supervisor Mark Anthony Catalan, adding that the idea for Project A.I. CU began in 2019 and was proposed to Davao Light in 2020. Catalan was joined by fellow Davao Light innovators Eric Camerino, Jeffrey Lingatong, Raquel Caro, Russel Bolivar, and Prince Yamyamin in developing Project A.I. CU in its early stages and rejuvenating the search for other possible A.I. applications in the operations of Davao Light, particularly in the aspects of safety, audit, and maintenance. The group was able to complete an A.I. model for Project A.I. CU as a proof of concept before turning it over to ADI, the data science and A.I. arm of the Aboitiz Group. In the near future, ADI aspires to refine and scale the project for its full implementation in Visayan Electric and Davao Light. These AboitizPower subsidiaries are the second and third-largest distribution utilities in the Philippines, respectively. Once fully implemented, Project A.I. CU is estimated to save both companies millions of pesos in annual operating costs. As such, ADI will also assess its potential use in other AboitizPower distribution utilities. “This award demonstrates the data-driven innovations being applied in AboitizPower and highlights the growing synergies within the Aboitiz techglomerate, which in this case is between our distribution utilities and ADI,” said AboitizPower President and CEO Emmanuel Rubio. “It also reaffirms AboitizPower’s mission of ‘Transforming Energy for a Better World’ as it continues its digitalization and innovation initiative to ensure quality service.” In line with the Aboitiz Group’s Great Transformation, and as a partner in Philippine development via its power generation and distribution assets, AboitizPower is focusing its transformation in the realms of decarbonization, digitalization, and growing beyond its core business. The Company had already indicated its goal of growing its renewable energy portfolio to at least 4,600 megawatts or 50% of its generation mix by the next decade to aid the country’s energy transition to a cleaner power mix. The Asian Technology Excellence Awards was presented by Asian Business Review, a regional magazine serving Asia's dynamic business community. The post AboitizPower utilities score tech win for use of A.I. appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2023

ERC conducts thorough CSP guidelines review

The Energy Regulatory Commission or ERC is holding a “thorough review and revision” of Competitive Selection Process or CSP guidelines so it can fully strengthen the sector, especially in light of recent cancellations of power deals that may threaten power supply stability. The Department of Energy Circular  DC2018-02-0003 entitled, “Adopting and Prescribing the Policy for the Competitive Selection Process in the Procurement by the Distribution Utilities of Power Supply Agreement for the Captive Market” governs the CSP. The CSP refers to the process whereby a power supplier is chosen to supply the electric power requirements of a distribution utility through transparent and competitive bidding to secure supply. As per the DoE order, the ERC is required to develop and publish the CSP guidelines.   Focus group discussion As such, the Commission conducted focus group discussions with various stakeholder groups last 26 to 28 July to assess the drafted guidelines. However, based on the results of the discussions and the comments solicited from stakeholders, the ERC was compelled to conduct a thorough review and revision of the Draft CSP Guidelines. “In this regard, the Commission will issue a revised draft of the CSP Guidelines that will then be subjected to another round of public consultation before finalizing the guidelines,” the ERC said. “We have duly notified the Department of Energy on Friday, 25 August 2023, of the necessity to consider the comments of stakeholders and the need to revise the Draft CSP Guidelines further,” it added.   Ensure consumer protection In a previous interview, ERC chairperson Atty. Monalisa Dimalanta already conveyed that the power watchdog wants the guidelines to ensure consumers will be protected in the long run. “We saw last year how even recently awarded power supply agreements were tested but they failed to withstand the challenges resulting in disputes and termination,” Dimalanta told reporters.   Evaluate CSP rules “So it compels us to evaluate the CSP rules to see what improvements can be made to avoid this to ensure commitments are delivered to consumers,” she said. The CSP policy aims to promote the needs of the consumers as presented in the Distribution Development Plan and Power Supply Procurement Plans of the DUs. The DU, on the other hand, should embrace the principle of technology neutrality and consider the reliability of energy services in the least cost manner. It should also ensure that it can meet the demand of its Captive Market at any given time. The post ERC conducts thorough CSP guidelines review appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 1st, 2023

Hawaii county sues power company over deadly wildfires

Maui County is suing Hawaii's electricity company over the deadly fire that leveled Lahaina, alleging the destruction could have been avoided if power lines had been shut off. The lawsuit is the latest step in a growing critical focus on the power provider in the wake of the blaze, which killed at least 115 people, with videos apparently showing downed cables setting light to vegetation in the hours before tragedy struck. The lawsuit says there was plenty of warning of strong winds from a nearby hurricane, but Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries negligently kept power lines live. "These power lines foreseeably ignited the fast-moving, deadly, and destructive Lahaina Fire, which completely destroyed residences, businesses, churches, schools, and historic cultural sites," the lawsuit, filed Thursday, says. "Defendants knew that the high winds the (National Weather Service) predicted would topple power poles, knock down power lines, and ignite vegetation. "Defendants also knew that if their overhead electrical equipment ignited a fire, it would spread at a critically rapid rate." The county -- which is itself under pressure over what critics say was a lack of preparation ahead of the fire and a lackluster response in its aftermath -- is demanding unspecified damages and compensation for the destruction. "Maui County stands alongside the people and communities of Lahaina and Kula to recover public resource damages and rebuild after these devastating utility-caused fires," the county said in a statement. Power companies in California routinely shut down large stretches of above-ground power lines in strong winds, a strategy credited with helping to avoid some blazes. On 14 August, Hawaiian Electric boss Shelee Kimura defended the decision to keep the network live, saying electricity was necessary to keep water pumping in Lahaina. The 8 August fire was the deadliest wildfire the United States has seen for more than a century. It burned through around 2,000 acres (800 hectares) and laid waste to the historic town of Lahaina, a former Hawaiian royal seat and a thriving tourist hub. Flames, fanned by powerful winds, moved so quickly that many residents were caught unaware, only learning there was a fire when they saw it for themselves. Some abandoned their cars as they tried to flee the town and sought refuge in the ocean, where they cowered for hours as their homes were incinerated. The official toll is expected to rise as a grim search of the ashen remains of Lahaina is completed. Thousands of people have been made homeless, with recovery expected to take years. Federal estimates suggest the fire caused $5.5 billion of damage. The lawsuit, which also includes a demand for a jury trial, comes a week after the head of Maui's emergency management agency resigned amid criticism for not sounding the island's network of warning sirens. Also on Thursday, Maui county officials released a list of 388 names of people who remain unaccounted for. Police said the aim was to encourage anyone who knew the whereabouts of people on the list to come forward, so they could be removed. The practice is common in the wake of a disaster, and the figure of 388 does not indicate that this number of people are likely to be dead, only that they have been reported to authorities as not having been seen. The post Hawaii county sues power company over deadly wildfires appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 26th, 2023

Japan to decide Tuesday on Fukushima water release

The Japanese government will decide on Tuesday about the release of treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, the government minister in charge said. Around 1.34 million tons of water, equivalent to more than 500 Olympic swimming pools, have accumulated since the Fukushima plant was knocked out by an earthquake and tsunami that killed 18,000 people in 2011. Plant operator TEPCO says that with around 1,000 steel tanks now full, space has run out and that it wants to gradually start discharging the water into the Pacific via a one-kilometer (half-a-mile) underwater pipe. "We would like to hold a meeting of the relevant ministers tomorrow (Tuesday) in order to make a decision on the commencement of the water release after confirming the status of efforts to ensure safety and to address reputational damage," Yasutoshi Nishimura, economy, trade and industry minister, told a news conference on Monday. "Relevant ministers will discuss and share information on what next steps should be taken, and based on these discussions, we would like to make a decision about the timing," he said. A TEPCO official said at a separate news conference that, once the government decision is taken, the release would begin "one to two days" later. The government had said it planned to begin releasing the water before the end of the summer. Diluted and filtered The water has collected in the past 12 years from water used to cool three melted-down reactors, combined with groundwater and rain at the site in northeast Japan. TEPCO says that it has been diluted and filtered to remove all radioactive substances except tritium, which is far below dangerous levels. The plan has been endorsed by the UN atomic watchdog, which said in July it would have a "negligible radiological impact on people and the environment". "Tritium has been released (by nuclear power plants) for decades with no evidential detrimental environmental or health effects," Tony Hooker, nuclear expert from the University of Adelaide, told AFP. Environmental pressure group Greenpeace says, however, that the filtration process is flawed and that an "immense" quantity of radioactive material will be dispersed into the sea over the coming decades. 'Sewer' Beijing has accused Tokyo of treating the ocean like a "sewer". China -- Japan's biggest market for seafood -- has banned food shipments from 10 Japanese prefectures and imposed radiation checks on imports from elsewhere. These time-consuming checks have already led to a 30-percent slump in Japanese seafood imports into China last month, Japanese and Chinese media reported, citing Chinese customs data. Hong Kong, an important market for Japanese seafood exports, has also threatened restrictions. Many in Japan's fisheries industry worry therefore that the discharge will do renewed massive damage to the reputation of Japanese seafood abroad. "Nothing about the water release is beneficial to us," third-generation fisherman Haruo Ono, 71, whose brother was killed in 2011, told AFP in Shinchimachi, 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of the nuclear plant. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised a 30-billion-yen ($200-million) fund to compensate local fishermen for reputational damage. He said on Monday after meeting Masanobu Sakamoto, head of the national fisheries cooperative, that the government has "made every possible preparation to ensure the safety, prevent reputational damage and help keep people's livelihood afloat, and we have been offering explanations to that end". Japan has spent months trying to win over public opinion at home and abroad, with everything from livestreaming fish living in the treated water to efforts to counter online disinformation. Public concern also remains high in South Korea but its government, which has sought to thaw ties with Japan, said its review of the plan found it in line with international standards. The release of the treated water -- a maximum of 500,000 liters per day, TEPCO says -- is just one stage of the clean-up. The far more dangerous task remains of removing radioactive debris and highly dangerous nuclear fuel from the three reactors that went into meltdown. The post Japan to decide Tuesday on Fukushima water release appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2023

Victory for ordinary consumers

The Energy Regulatory Commission, on 8 August 2023, made the correct decision in suspending Resolution No. 07, S. 2011, which unfairly allowed the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, or NGCP, to pass on its three-percent franchise tax to energy consumers. The suspension order was triggered by the Senate Energy Committee hearing in July where Senator Raffy Tulfo, chairman, moved to raise a review of the franchise tax of NGCP amid delays in the completion of 37 transmission projects. He pointed out the NGCP projects were delayed by 820 days or 2 years and 3 months. Adding insult to injury, Senator Tulfo said, the NGCP has been passing on its franchise tax to consumers since 2011. “Perhaps it’s time for ERC to revisit its Resolution No. 7, series of 2011. And since we’re at it, maybe it’s about time to revisit the franchise tax of NGCP and impose a regular income tax on them instead,” declared the good senator. Senator Win Gatchalian, vice chairman of the committee,  said the ERC should not allow NGCP to pass on its franchise tax to consumers because there is a 2002 Supreme Court ruling that the income tax, which is not an operating expense, cannot be passed on by a utility to its consumers. In the case of NGCP, the franchise tax is not an operating expense. Moreover, the franchise tax, according to the NGCP franchise, is in lieu of income tax. As such, NGCP should not be allowed to pass on its franchise tax to consumers. You see, the government in granting NGCP a franchise to operate the power transmission system in the country, exempted the company from all kinds of taxes, including the 30 percent corporate income tax, except for a 3 percent franchise tax based on its annual gross receipts. However, in 2011, the ERC granted the NGCP’s application to allow the franchise tax to be part of the transmission costs included in the electricity bills of consumers. In RP vs Meralco (G.R. No 141314, 15 November 2002), the Supreme Court ruled that a public utility cannot charge its income tax to consumers by including it in its operating expenses that form part of the electricity bill since no benefit is derived from it by the consumers. The Supreme Court said that to charge consumers for expenses incurred by a public utility that is not related to the service or benefit derived by the consumers is unjustified and inequitable. Quoting from the case of Smyth v. Ames, 169 U.S. 466, 545 (1898), the Supreme Court declared: “[T]he public cannot properly be subjected to unreasonable rates in order simply that stockholders may earn dividends… If a corporation cannot maintain such a [facility] and earn dividends for stockholders, it is a misfortune for it and them which the Constitution does not require to be remedied by imposing unjust burdens on the public.” This 2002 ruling was recently reiterated in the May 2023 Supreme Court decision barring Maynilad and Manila Water from passing on to consumers their corporate income taxes as operating expenses. In a 102-page decision penned by Justice Marvic Leonen, the SC ruled that in operating the waterworks and sewerage system, Maynilad and Manila Water are public utilities that are expressly prohibited from passing on to consumers their corporate income taxes as operating expenses. Indeed, the act of NGCP of passing on its franchise tax to consumers is simply repulsive when the corporation has been given all the special privileges to operate the monopoly business of transmitting electricity and is exempted from all other taxes. The franchise tax is the single obligation imposed on NGCP, yet its handful of billionaire owners deigned to pass it on to the ordinary consumers, who do not enjoy the same privilege of tax exemption of the wealthy corporation. Passing on the NGCP’s franchise tax obligation to the consumers only furthers an economic system that makes the poor poorer and the rich richer. The post Victory for ordinary consumers appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2023

CA conundrum

What gives in the recent Court of Appeals decision that effectively emasculated the Energy Regulatory Commission? The ruling, in effect, said SMC was correct in its petition to the ERC asserting a “change in circumstance” to allow it to set aside the fixed-price provision in its contract with Meralco. Moreover, the ruling favored SMC’s claim that the adjustment would result in the least electricity cost, which was the conglomerate’s contention when it filed the petition with ERC. In its plea, SMC’s power units sought a 30 to 34 centavos per kilowatt hour increase in the rate it charged Meralco. Meralco as the electricity distributor then passes on the cost to consumers in their monthly bills. The court in its decision weighed the impact of the various options and favored the one that SMC proffered as having the most benefit to consumers. The ERC in its October decision dismissing the petitions of SMC arms, South Premiere Power Corp. and San Miguel Energy Corp., cited the straight pricing scheme in the power supply agreements of both firms with Meralco. SMC, instead of petitioning ERC for a review, went straight to the Court of Appeals to seek temporary restraining orders for both SPPC and SMEC. The CA through its 13th Division promptly issued a TRO on SPPC which in effect suspended its contract with Meralco, as SMC had warned if the ERC did not go along with its wish for a price adjustment. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. then urged the court to review the TRO, fearing that it would result in higher electricity bills. The CA’s 16th Division then rejected the TRO petition of SMEC but allowed the consolidation of the cases with the 13th Division, which issued a ruling later upgrading the SPPC TRO into a writ of preliminary injunction. The latest 13th Division ruling was the provision of permanent injunctions to both SMEC and SPPC. Going by the principle of honoring contracts, ERC, as the regulator, needed to enforce the fixed-price provision in the PSAs which covered about 1 gigawatt of electricity supply to Meralco. SMC in the deliberations with the ERC said that it had been hemorrhaging money — P15 billion since 2021 from operating the Sual coal and the Ilijan natural gas power facilities amid high global coal prices and unilateral natural gas supply restrictions from Malampaya.   The CA’s ruling overturned the ERC and thus allowed SMC to recover its claimed losses by passing it on to consumers. SMC can also seek new adjustments retroactively from the time that it was considered to have been affected by the high global prices and natural gas supply restrictions, based on the rulig. The CA decision would have the immediate effect of a likely price increase since the PSA would be terminated, forcing Meralco to buy electricity from the spot market. The ultimate effect of the CA decision, however, would be to weaken the regulatory function of the ERC since it will set a precedent for parties in a contract to undermine the regulator’s decision by going directly to the CA. The ERC, thus, is fighting to uphold its function under the Electricity Power Industry Reform Act or Epira with its vow to appeal the CA decision in the Supreme Court. “The decision is not yet final and we will still file a motion for reconsideration. If granted, that's another discussion. If denied, we will go all the way to the Supreme Court,” said ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta.   It is indeed disconcerting that businesses that can pull all the strings overstep the rules, including the sanctity of contracts, aided by the court. Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra in defending the ERC said the CA’s 13th Division “violated the separation of powers and overstepped its boundaries when it directed the parties (SMC and Meralco) to enter into good faith negotiations” on the PSA of SPPC. He said that the 25 January resolution granting the writ of preliminary injunction and issuing the directive to renegotiate the terms of the contract “impinges on the executive jurisdiction of both the Department of Energy and respondent ERC.” Guevarra said that a renegotiation “was not even prayed for in the petition.” The $64,000 question is what prompted the CA to go out of its way to favor SMC despite the business behemoth effectively breaching its contracts with Meralco. The post CA conundrum appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2023

AMID CA ‘OVERREACH’ ERC ready for battle

The Energy Regulatory Commission is ready to contest before the Supreme Court the decision of the Court of Appeals voiding the regulator’s rejection of the rate increase petitions of two San Miguel Corporation power generation firms. Legal pundits said the CA usurped the ERC’s authority in its ruling setting aside the regulator’s late 2022 decisions to dismiss the petitions of South Premiere Power Corp. and San Miguel Energy Corp. to increase prices. Others called the CA decision an “overreach.” The two San Miguel subsidiaries cited a “change in circumstances” for turning their backs on their fixed-priced contracts with Manila Electric Company. San Miguel disclosed on Wednesday to the Philippine Stock Exchange the favorable decision it had received from the CA’s 13th Division composed of Associate Justice Victoria Isabel Paredes, as chairperson; and Associate Justices Mary Charlene Hernandez-Azura and Florencio Mamauag Jr., as members. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, ERC chairperson lawyer Monalisa Dimalanta clarified that the CA’s decision was not yet final since, under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, only the Supreme Court can issue a permanent injunction on rate hikes. “There is no computation yet of the rate hikes. The decision is not yet final, and we will still file a motion for reconsideration. If granted, that’s another discussion. If denied, we will go all the way to the Supreme Court. I have not yet foreseen any rate impact,” Dimalanta said. Dimalanta added that the ERC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, will need to confirm if the CA is legally allowed to issue a final decision on rate hikes. “The CA can review any factual matter related to any rate hike petition, but we still want to clarify if the CA can decide with finality because it will change everything in the (power) industry. Under the EPIRA, only the SC can issue a permanent injunction,” Dimalanta explained. Unfortunate ruling According to Dimalanta, the CA’s decision was “unfortunate and disconcerting,” but the ERC will continue to uphold the law to “protect consumers.” “The ERC hopes the CA will revisit the records of the case as well as the arguments of the parties and uphold the commission’s ruling,” the ERC chief said. Consumers will not yet feel any adverse impact from the CA’s reversal of the ERC’s rejection of the temporary rate hike petitions, Dimalanta added. However, for San Miguel Global Power or SMGP, the holding firm for SMC’s power ventures, the CA’s decision “upholds the constitutional mandate of due process that guarantees the right to be treated fairly and effectively by quasi-judicial bodies like the ERC.” “It is regrettable that the ERC’s unfair decision early on to reject our joint petition with Meralco for a temporary rate hike — despite proving to be the least cost option at the time for power consumers — resulted in consumers shouldering the burden of much higher electricity rates,” SMGP said in a separate statement on Thursday. Nonetheless, the company said it still looks to “forge even stronger partnerships with the government, consumers, and other key stakeholders to help shape a more resilient and sustainable energy landscape for all.” Meanwhile, Meralco Head of Regulatory Management Jose Ronald Valles said the company will reach out to the CA to clarify some matters regarding the decision. “There are some matters in the decision that we feel need to be clarified. We are consulting with our lawyers on the legal remedies available to us, including an appeal to the Supreme Court,” Valles said. The 13th Division of the CA reversed the order of the ERC that rejected the temporary power rate hike petition filed by San Miguel Energy Corp. or SMEC and South Premiere Power Corp. or SPPC and Meralco. The CA decision granted the consolidated petitions for certiorari filed by SMEC and SPPC. It also favored the joint motion of SPPC and SMEC for a price adjustment with provisional authority and/or interim relief in ERC Case No. 2019-081 and ERC Case No. 2019-083. Likewise, the appellate court made permanent the preliminary injunction issued in favor of SPPC. The rate hike petition stemmed from SMGP’s report that its Sual Coal and Ilijan Natural Gas power facilities logged combined losses of P15 billion from 2021 to date due to high prices. As such, it sought temporary and partial cost recovery relief only for the losses it incurred from January to May, through a power rate increase on its contract capacity under the power supply agreement with Meralco to be amortized for six months. CA gets flak Consumer group Power for People Coalition criticized the CA magistrates for favoring the Ramon Ang-led San Miguel Corporation. “The Court of Appeals is supposed to uphold the interests of justice and the people, but it failed to do both in its decision granting SMC’s petitions in its cases before the ERC,” Gerry Arances, convener of the Power for People Coalition, said in a statement on Thursday. In its PSE disclosure, SMC said the CA annulled and set aside the ERC order dated 29 September 2022 in ERC Cases 2019-081 and 2019-083 due to a “grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.” The CA’s joint decision dated 27 June 2023, received by SMC through the Poblador Bautista Reyes Law Offices, granted the consolidated petitions for certiorari filed by SMEC and SPPC. Arances said the CA effectively released SMC from any consequences of breaking a contract “simply because it is not earning enough from a commitment it has made voluntarily.” “We hope that the court will reevaluate, and we will file a motion for reconsideration to give the justices another chance to live up to their name,” Arances said. It can be recalled that the two power companies, along with Meralco, appealed for a temporary rate hike under their 2019 power supply agreement to help them recover from the unprecedented hike in coal prices. The CA denied the petition of SMEC for a temporary restraining order, but it allowed a TRO and later a writ of preliminary injunction or WPI on the ERC decision to deny an increase in SPPC’s power supply agreement or PSA with Meralco. The CA then consolidated the two rate increase cases under the division that granted the WPI. In its report to the bourse, SMC bared that the CA also favored the SPPC and SMEC’s joint motion for price adjustments without prejudice to any further requests for price adjustments. The further request for adjustments would be for June 2022 onwards for SPPC, from June 2022 to 25 January 2023 or the date of writ of preliminary injunction; and for SMEC, from June 2022 to the date of the finality of the joint decision. The post AMID CA ‘OVERREACH’ ERC ready for battle appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 13th, 2023

PAO Chief vows to follow SC ruling

An office order was issued by Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Rueda Acosta directing all regional office heads and divisions to strictly follow Section. 22, Canon lll of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA) of the Supreme Court pertaining to conflict of interest. The office order signed by the officials of the PAO stated, "We will hereby comply to the same (SC ruling). We hereby give discretion and disposition as a lawyer to individual resident public attorneys assigned in specific courts to comply with the said rule in relation  to Section 13 and 18 of Canon lll thereof." Acosta also stated in her office order that resident public attorneys are advised to reconcile it with the provisions of Article 209 of the Revised Penal Code approved on 29 August 2017 to avoid criminal responsibility and imprisonment, considering that said penal provision requires the consent of the first client. "PAO lawyers are advised to adopt precautionary measures in handling conflict of interest cases to protect their life and limb as well as to avoid criminal and administrative liability," the order signed by Acosta stated. To recall,  the SC has denied the plea of Acosta to delete Section 22, Canon III of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA) which allows PAO lawyers to represent opposing parties in court cases. PAO’s request to delete Section 22, Canon III of the CPRA was docketed as an administrative matter and was decided by the Court en banc during its regular session last 11 July 2023. Magistrates, during their deliberations, also decided to compel Acosta to show cause why she should not be cited in indirect contempt for her unabated public tirades against the said provision. The Court noted Acosta’s social media posts and newspaper publications branding the adoption of the CPRA as unconstitutional, and an undue interference and intrusion by the SC into PAO’s operations. The SC said Acosta’s tirades tend to directly or indirectly “impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice” and can be considered “a threat to the independence of the judiciary.” In defending the assailed provision of the CPRA, the SC reminded the PAO chief of its primordial mandate which is to “[extend] free legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases.” “To turn away indigent litigants and bar them from availing of the services of all PAO lawyers nationwide due to alleged conflict of interest would be to contravene PAO’s principal duty and leave hundreds of poor litigants unassisted by legal counsel they cannot otherwise afford,” it added. The SC maintained that CPRA was promulgated in the exercise of its exclusive rule-making power under the Constitution. Likewise, the High Tribunal said the CPRA was adopted as part of its authority to supervise the practice of law and to provide free legal assistance to the underprivileged. The CPRA took effect on 30 May 2023, 15 days after its publication. In her letter to Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, Acosta sought the indefinite suspension of the implementation of CPRA pending review by the members of the Court. The post PAO Chief vows to follow SC ruling appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2023

Power transmission strife probe sought

A lawmaker on Monday is seeking an investigation into the country’s series of power interruptions and electrical disturbances for the past weeks, insisting that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines should be held liable. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian — who is also the vice-chairperson of the committee on Energy — filed Resolution 607 calling for a Senate inquiry into the series of disturbances in the country’s power transmission system “in the hope of ensuring a reliable and continuous electricity supply.” “These successive transmission system disturbances caused inconvenience to communities and losses to businesses,” said Gatchalian. “The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines as the operator of the transmission system in the country should be held to account for the root cause of these disturbances.” The senator made the call after the NGCP placed the Luzon grid under red and yellow alerts after reporting the power plant outages due to the tripping of the Bolo-Masinloc 230kV Line 2 on 8 May. He also cited that it led to the tripping of 2 units of the Masinloc Coal Power Plant which, in turn, caused a power loss of 659 megawatts in the Luzon grid. “Such disturbances brought power interruptions in the franchise areas of various distribution facilities across Luzon island,” said the senator, adding that in the Meralco franchise, in particular, more than 300,000 customers in Paco and Sta. Mesa in Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, Batangas, Antipolo in Rizal, San Pedro and Biñan in Laguna, and San Rafael and Pulilan in Bulacan were affected by the tripping activity. To recall, Meralco on 9 May reported power supply cuts due to a temporary system imbalance caused by a sudden plant outage, saying that the power supply disruption was caused by an automatic load dropping of approximately 290 MW as a result of the tripping of the Duhat-Hermosa 290kV line. On 27 April, the NGCP reported a system disturbance in the Visayas, causing a loss of 322.3 MW and power interruptions that persisted until 30 April. More than 1.5 million households were affected by the power interruptions in the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Negros. The power outages last up to 12 hours. Meanwhile, Senator JV Ejercito is seeking to review the NGCP’s franchise and assessment of its performance after receiving reports that foreign shareholders have more control of the company. “Utilities that are concerned with national security should remain with the national government, controlled by the Philippines,” Ejercito said. As this developed, more senators on Monday expressed their openness to the call to review the Congressional franchise given to the NGCP due to the recent power outages in several parts of the country. Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said that her panel is open to the review of the congressional franchise of the NGCP “as it concerns a critical need of Filipinos.” “The recurring power outages being experienced by millions of households amid the scorching months should not be the norm,” Poe said. “We must also exercise vigilance when it comes to our power lines, to ensure that electricity running from Luzon to Mindanao remains under the control of Filipinos amid security concerns raised by senators.” Senator Risa Hontiveros echoed the same sentiment, saying there is nothing wrong with the Upper Chamber if it would review the franchise of the privately-owned corporation. “Even during the previous Congress, we have started, in a way, the review of at least some provisions in the franchise because the government is not only one that has an obligation in this contract but the corporation itself,” Hontiveros said. In other developments, the Energy Regulatory Commission is already doing its part by auditing the NGCP on the completion of the transmission projects as part of the ongoing rate reset process of the grid operator, ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta told Daily Tribune. Dimalanta’s remark came in response to Albay Rep. Joey Salceda’s call to ERC to use its powers under Republic Act 9511 or the NGCP franchise to mandate performance improvements in the transmission company following blackouts caused by delays and damage to the company’s transmission lines. “If you recall, NGCP’s allowable revenues are set on a 5-year cycle supposedly, but the last one happened back in 2010, which set NGCP’s allowed revenues and corresponding rates for 2011-2015,” Dimalanta said. She added that the power regulator is already “conducting the review and reset now for the past years (2016-2022) and in parallel the process to set their revenues based on forecasted expenses for 2023-2027.” Salceda tapped the ERC to conduct a performance audit on the NGCP after its supposed deadline for its major three major projects -- the Cebu-Negros-Panay connection and the Mindanao-Visayas interconnection -- that was due by August this year. With Edjen Oliquino The post Power transmission strife probe sought appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 15th, 2023

Occidental Mindoro power outages cause outrage

P3PWD Partylist nominee Rowena Guanzon has called on the national government concerned agencies to intervene in the long-standing power crisis in Occidental Mindoro as it may harm residents amid the summer season. Guanzon voiced concern over the 20-hour power outage, asking where the national government was at a time when the schoolchildren’s welfare may be jeopardized. “20 hours of no electricity in Mindoro? Students already passed out. Where the hell is the government?” stressed the lawyer on Twitter. The calls came after at least 10 students collapsed in four schools in the town of San Jose Occidental Mindoro on Wednesday and the province’s local government has even sought the aid of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to fulfill his campaign promise to end the power crisis in the region. Occidental Mindoro Gov. Eduardo Gadiano has said that the “power dilemma” is mainly caused by the province’s lack of energy and separation from the main grid. The dispute between the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative and the Occidental Mindoro Consolidated Power Corporation, according to him, made the situation even worse. He likewise said Omeco lacks funds to purchase fuel because it has yet to receive its government subsidy through Napocor. The Energy Regulation Commission, on the other hand, is not accepting responsibility for the province’s prolonged blackout after being chastised for allegedly failing to act on the National Power Corporation’s request to adjust power rates and end the power outage. The post Occidental Mindoro power outages cause outrage appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 24th, 2023

Revamped CSP eyes less friction

The Department of Energy is rendering the finishing touches to the revamped Competitive Selection Process or CSP policy. The agency is currently conducting public consultations to ensure that consumers will benefit from the revised rule. “The DoE is committed to our mandate, vision and mission to improve the quality of life of the Filipinos by formulating and implementing policies and programs to ensure sustainable, stable, secure, sufficient, accessible and reasonably-priced energy,” Energy Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said. During the public consultation, the DoE emphasized the expectation from distribution utilities or DUs such as Meralco to ensure a well-prepared Distribution Development Plan and the Power Supply Procurement Plan since these will be the references of DoE and NEA in the issuance of the Certificate of Conformity in terms of the contract quantity and cooperation period. Tighter deals  The next schedule of public consultations will be on 17 and 19 April. The draft CSP policy is posted on the DOE website with a deadline for comments on 21 April. Government regulators want to further strengthen the rules governing the CSP, especially amid recent cancellations of deals that may threaten power supply stability. Energy Regulatory Commission chairperson Atty. Monalisa Dimalanta earlier said an evaluation will ensure consumers will be protected in the long-run. “We saw last year how even recently awarded power supply agreements were tested but they failed to withstand the challenges resulting in disputes and termination,” Dimalanta recently told reporters. She was referring to the straight-pricing contract of two San Miguel Corp. units that the company, citing piling losses from higher costs of fuel, sought to be suspended. ERC junked the SMC petitions citing the need to honor the provisions of the PSA. “So it compels us to evaluate the CSP rules to see what improvements can be made to avoid this to ensure commitments are delivered to consumers,” she said. The Department of Energy Circular DC2018-02-0003 entitled, “Adopting and Prescribing the Policy for the Competitive Selection Process in the Procurement by the Distribution Utilities of Power Supply Agreement for the Captive Market” governs the CSP. It refers to the process wherein a power supplier is chosen to supply electric power requirements of a distribution utility through transparent and competitive bidding. According to the DoE, the CSP policy aims to promote the needs of the consumers as presented in the Distribution Development Plan and Power Supply Procurement Plans of the DUs. The DU, on the other hand, should embrace the principle of technology neutrality and consider the reliability of energy services in a least cost manner. It should also ensure that it can meet the demand for its Captive Market at any given time. The post Revamped CSP eyes less friction appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 16th, 2023

K-12 curriculum review every 3 years sought

Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar is pushing for legislation that will mandate the regular review of the K-12 Basic Education Curriculum to ensure the “employability and competitiveness” of its graduates......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 19th, 2024

NAPOCOR seeks approval of higher subsidized rates

The National Power Corp. is seeking the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission for an increase in the rates to be paid by consumers in off-grid areas in the country......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 30th, 2024

Meralco, McDonald’s Philippines partner for sustainability

Power utility giant Manila Electric Co. and McDonald’s Philippines continue to strengthen their partnership to support the implementation of the fast-food giant’s sustainability practices......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 21st, 2024

‘Congress may review NGCP’s franchise’

The Joint Congressional Energy Commission might be convened to review and decide on the amendment or cancellation of the franchise of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines following the region-wide power outage in Western Visayas that caused billions of pesos in economic losses, Sen. Raffy Tulfo said over the weekend......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 15th, 2024

Senate panel ready to review NGCP franchise

Following the massive power outage that struck Panay Island and other parts of Western Visayas on Jan. 2, another Senate panel is ready to conduct a probe into the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines franchise......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 10th, 2024

Accountability sought in Panay blackout

The provincial government of Iloilo is seeking accountability over the region-wide power outage in Western Visayas that crippled the islands of Panay and Guimaras as well as some areas of Negros after the New Year......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 7th, 2024

Another employee of Mindanao-based power utility killed

Gunmen killed in an ambush on Friday in nearby Carmen town an electric consumption meter reader of a provincial power utility, barely two weeks after a lineman in Tawi-Tawi was shot dead while about to disconnect lines to a house whose owner has accumulated unpaid bills......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 16th, 2023

Review of RTL sought

The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. is pushing for a review of the Rice Tariffication Law to divert the use of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to fund and incentivize the local manufacturing of farm machineries and equipment......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2023

Napocor, NIA team up for water management

The National Power Corp. has joined forces with the National Irrigation Administration for sustainable water resource management in the Makiling-Banahaw Geothermal Reservation in Laguna......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2023