The militant party-list group Bayan Muna on Friday challenged Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chair Agnes Devanadera to reveal the extent of her consulting work for one of the controversial power supply agreements (PSAs) that Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) awarded to several affiliated firms without bidding.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Bayan Muna chair and former Congressman Neri Colmenares cited media reports that Devanadera had consultancy work that dealt with one of Meralco’s PSAs.
Devanadera, in media interviews early this week, mentioned her consultancy work with one Meralco PSA and her decision to inhibit herself from its ongoing review.
She, however, said her inhibition would mean lack of quorum at the ERC.
“That she has worked for Meralco before casts doubt on Devanadera’s motive in insisting to process these expensive deals,” Colmenares said in a statement.
He said the power deals were being pushed despite findings by the House of Representatives and the Ombudsman that “these contracts were illegal for failing to comply with ERC’s competitive selection process (CSP).”
Bayan Muna members staged protests in Metro Manila on Friday to mark the 17th anniversary of Republic Act No. 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.
Two House committees that investigated Meralco and the ERC earlier concluded in their joint report that officials and employees of the ERC, then chaired by Jose Vicente Salazar, might have committed wrongdoing related to the issuance of ERC Resolution No. 1, series of 2016, which delayed the implementation of CSP.
The delay gave Meralco a window to negotiate deals with its own subsidiaries and affiliates for supply of 3,551 megawatts of electricity.
But four ERC commissioners were suspended by the Ombudsman for their role in issuing the ERC resolution.
Devanadera was spared from the Ombudsman penalty because she was not yet with the ERC when the resolution was issued in March 2016.
Zarate earlier said a hefty P1.55-per-kilowatt-hour increase in electricity was imbedded in the seven PSAs.
Based on Zarate’s calculation, the P1.55 per kWh rate will cost millions of Meralco customers P54.54 billion in additional charges per annum.
Over the 20-year duration of the contracts, Meralco customers would have paid P3.2 trillion, according to Zarate.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.