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Bayan Muna nangangamba sa power supply contract bidding

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Inaasahan na umano ni Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares ang pagkapanalo ng ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ ng Manila Electric Company (Meralco) sa malaking ‘power supply contract’ dahil sa gagawing ‘selective competition’ at hindi ‘competitive selection process’.

Ayon kay Colmenares, ang panalo ng Meralco subsidiary ay hindi benipisyaryo kundi pahirap lamang sa konsyumer dahil sa napakamahal na singil sa kuryente sa loob ng 20 taon.

“Meralco follows a selective competition process, and not a competitive selection process; because the terms of reference for the scheduled bidding is not open to all suppliers. It has excluded existing power plants, because – with lower expenses to recover from operations – existing power plants can offer lower rates than new plants and can easily beat Atimonan One during the bidding,” giit ni Colmenares.

Ngayong linggo, naka-iskedyul ang Meralco para sa 1,800 megawatts power supply contracts sa ilalim ng government’s competitive selection process (CSP).

Pero aniya, ang CSP rules ay nagbago kaya malaki ang posibilidad na ang kalalabasan nito ay pabor sa mga napiling bidders kabilang ang subsidiaries ng Meralco gaya ng Atimonan One Energy Inc. (Atimonan One), na nagtatayo na ng bagong 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Atimonan, Quezon.

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“New power plants have to recover a lot of expenses, including capital recovery fees, which jack up their asking prices for the electricity they will generate and sell. In contrast, existing power plants have recovered substantial, if not all, of their capital. That’s why they can offer lower rates during bidding,” ayon pa sa progresibong lider.

“Meralco may shout to high heavens that the upcoming bidding for electricity it needs for 20 years starting 2024 has attracted a dozen power generation companies. But their participation does not make the bidding open; it leaves the most competitive bidders out and inevitably forces consumers to pay more for their electricity,” ayon pa sa Bayan Muna chairman.

Binigyang diin pa ng progresibong lider, kapag ipinagpilitan ng Meralco ang nasabing ‘bidding process’ na isang paglabag sa prangkisa ay dapat panagutin o kasuhan ang mga opisyal nito, dahil malinaw na kailangan na ang distribution utility (DU) ay makakuha ng pinakamaliit na paraan ng gastos.

“The original CSP circular that the DOE launched in 2015 specifically stated that ‘a third party recognized by the DOE shall supervise the bidding process under the CSP policy.’ By the term, ‘third party,’ the original CSP clearly wanted an independent body to conduct the CSP for the distribution utilities (DUs). This was the spirit of the original CSP, which we supported and Meralco opposed vigorously, because at least it does not grant control of bidding by the very DU bidding it out,” paliwanag ni Colmenares.

“But for some mysterious reasons, the DOE in 2018 released a new CSP circular, wherein the requirement for a third-party auctioneer has become optional. Instead of a truly independent body, the 2018 circular allowed DUs like Meralco to create its own Third Party Bids and Awards Committee (TPBAC) for the conduct of the bidding,” dagdag pa ng Bayan Muna leader.

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