ERC mulls filing legal action vs SFELAPCO
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has warned the management of the San Fernando Electric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO) that its “continued refusal to comply with its decision” directing them to refund some P2.4 billion in unapproved charges, may compel them to file a criminal action against the local power distributor.
In its decision dated June 1, 2023 and signed by ERC Chairperson and CEO Monalisa C. Dimalanta, the ERC has warned SFELAPCO that it would be compelled “to refer the matter to the Department of Justice for possible filing of criminal action against the Board of Directors and Officers of SFELAPCO pursuant to Section 46 of the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act).”
City of San Fernando Vilma Caluag said the residents of the city are happy to hear that we had finally won in the ERC, which said that its decision last March 3, 2023, was “executory.” “Masaya tana pu uning menyambut tana ERC. Tutu naman pu na meg overcharged la.” (We are happy that we won in the ERC. It’s true that they (SFELAPCO) overcharged.”
In a hastily called press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Caluag said the ERC decision is executory and that SFELAPCO should now put in order a refund scheme for the consumers.
The ERC said SFELAPCO’s “filing of its Motion for Reconsideration did not prevent the said Decision from becoming executory as there was no Stay Order issued by the Commission.” “In the same manner, the Commission emphasizes that the instant Order shall be executory despite any appeal to higher courts, unless an injunction and/or Restraining Order is issued in accordance with Section 78 of EPIRA.”
Section 78 of the EPIRA indicates “that only the Supreme Court can issue injunctions and restraining orders arising from the implementation of the provisions of EPIRA.”
Asked whether there are legal impediments that will further delay the implementation of the ERC decision, Caluag said it’s already “executory” and that SFELAPCO should immediately refund the P2,424,321,874.87 to the consumers.
ERC has directed SFELAPCO to refund “Other Charges” amounting to P654,397,381.48; and the collected generation charges amounting to P1,769,924,493.39 covering the period January 2013 to December 2022.
Caluag said the collected “Other Charges” will be returned in a one-time payment; and the collected generation charges every billing cycle for a period of one year.
SFELAPCO has 127,000 consumer-households, all of whom are awaiting a refund from the local power distributor.
SFELAPCO has admitted it implemented the Power Service Agreement with AP Renewables Inc. (APRI) without ERC’s approval. For this, SFELAPCO was also told to pay P21.6 million in fines for having violated ERC rules.
iOrbitNews tried to get a reply from SFELAPCO but to no avail.