MVP’s mo­nop­oly of power and wa­ter sup­ply

The Manila Times - - Front Page - IN MY LINE OF SIGHT RA­MON T. TULFO

IN the nex t cou­ple of months, a com­pet­i­tive se­lec­tion process or bid­ding will be con­ducted by the Manila Elec­tric Co. (Mer­alco) for the award­ing of long-term con­tracts for the sup­ply of power to the elec­tric­ity dis­tri­bu­tion util­ity.

En­ergy Sec­re­tary Al­fonso Cusi has been or­dered to make sure that the terms of ref­er­ence or bid pa­ram­e­ters are fair or will not fa­vor any en­tity.

Bid­dings in the past to grant cer­tain sec­tors the per­mit to sup­ply power were ques­tioned in the Supreme Court, which then ruled in fa­vor of the pro­test­ers.

The high tri­bunal or­dered Cusi to en­sure that the terms of ref­er­ence for the bid­ding to be con­ducted by Mer­alco “must not again be tai­lor-fit to fa­vor Mer­alco’s sis­ter com­pa­nies or friends.”

A pub­lic bid­ding in 2016 that awarded Mer­alco 20-year power sup­ply agree­ments al­lowed the power util­ity to cut a deal with its sis­ter com­pa­nies, such as MGen.

The deal was con­sid­ered a mid­night con­tract or sweet­heart deal. In Ta­ga­log, lu­tong ma­cau.

The high court gave cre­dence to the al­le­ga­tion by the Alyansa Para Sa Bagong Pilip­inas ( ABP) that the deal was lu­tong ma­cau.

ABP claimed that Mer­alco signed mid­night con­tracts with sis­ter firms — Central Lu­zon Pre­miere Power Corp., St. Raphael Power Gen­er­a­tion Corp., Panay En­ergy De­vel­op­ment Corp., Mariv­e­les Power Gen­er­a­tion Corp., Global Lu­zon En­ergy De­vel­op­ment Corp., Ati­mo­nan One En­ergy Inc. and Rolando Penin­sula En­ergy Inc. — to cover 90 per­cent of Mer­alco’s power re­quire­ments.

Com­plainant ABP blasted then En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion Chair­man Jose Salazar ( who was later fired by Pres­i­dent Digong), En­ergy Sec­re­tary Cusi and the Philip­pine Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion for their “be­trayal and in­ep­ti­tude” in pro­tect­ing con­sumers.

It de­scribed the al­leged mid­night con­tracts as a “mo­nop­oly” ( and rightly so – RTT ) that spells ma­nip­u­la­tion.

The ABP un­der­scored the man­date of ERC un­der the Epira

Law to pro­mote com­pe­ti­tion, en­cour­age mar­ket de­vel­op­ment, en­sure cus­tomer choice and pe­nal­ize abuse of mar­ket power.

Repub­lic Act 9136, or the “Elec­tric Power In­dus­try Re­form Act of 2001” ( Epira), pri­mar­ily gov­erns the elec­tric power in­dus­try and its par­tic­i­pants.

Epira aims to en­sure and ac­cel­er­ate the to­tal elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the coun­try, and the qual­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity, security and af­ford­abil­ity of the sup­ply of elec­tric power.

***

So, it’s not only in wa­ter that Manny V. Pangili­nan (MVP) and his boss, In­done­sian An­thoni Salim, are lord­ing it over.

Salim and his lo­cal dummy, Pangili­nan, are into elec­tric­ity as well.

MVP dum­mies for Salim in run­ning Mer­alco.

Pangili­nan has also cor­nered the con­tract to col­lect wastes in Que­zon City to be con­verted into elec­tric­ity.

But the con­tract will still take ef­fect in the com­ing years as Pangili­nan is still grop­ing around for funds.

A huge Chi­nese waste- toen­ergy firm, Conch Ven­ture Hold­ings ( HK) Ltd., of­fered to con­vert Que­zon City’s wastes to en­ergy im­me­di­ately if it is given the con­tract, but has been turned down be­cause the con­tract has been awarded to MVP.

Conch’s to­tal as­sets are about $ 28.3 bil­lion and its profit in 2018 amounted to $ 5.9 bil­lion.

With Conch’s of­fer, the waste­dis­posal prob­lem of Que­zon City and neigh­bor­ing ar­eas would be solved while at the same time con­trib­ute to solv­ing the coun­try’s en­ergy short­age.

Pangili­nan — even with­out funds — has pre­empted other play­ers like Conch to con­vert the city’s wastes into en­ergy. Was it be­cause of the Philip­pine Star, which was bought re­cently by MVP and the Sal­ims from the Bel­monte fam­ily?

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