The Philippines' Energy Regulatory Commission, on Feb. 9, posted on its website a Resolution directing distribution utilities (DUs) in Luzon and Visayas to complete the installation of time-of-use meters for qualified contestable electricity customers under the first phase of implementation of open access and retail competition (OARC). Also, under the said Resolution, the DUs are directed to provide the contestable customers, upon request, with load profile data (LPD) covering a 12-month period prior to the request, at no cost to the customers. Ownership of electric meters pertains to DUs as a general rule.

The installation of TOU meters by the concerned DUs is a requirement under Section 4.5.1, Article IV of the Distribution Services and Open Access Rules (DSOAR), as reiterated in Section 5.1, Article II of the Rules for Contestability. The meters must be capable of measuring energy use and demand in a fashion consistent with WESM energy settlement intervals and distribution and transmission demand charge intervals.

Also, under the Rules on Customer Switching, DUs will be the sole metering service provider (MSP) for the retail electricity market until metering services at the retail level become competitive as determined by the ERC. The DUs shall also conduct meter reading and data dissemination as a regulated service prior to the competitive metering service regime.

During the consumer education campaign of the ERC on the Contestable Retail Electricity Market (CREM), some contestable customers protested against the intent of some DUs to charge a fee for LPD. The LPD provides historical power consumption by a customer that will help in making intelligent decisions in choosing a RES and negotiating for the most advantageous electricity supply deal. The ERC, as the guardian of the welfare and interests of electricity consumers, immediately acted on the concern of the constable consumers and ruled that the LPD must be provided by a DU to its customers free of charge. The data, among others, will include the hourly historical consumption and demand.

The ERC explained that the LPD should be provided for free since this data will eventually be made available to customers at no cost once the Central Registration Body (CRB) is in place. The CRB will upload such data in the business-to-business system (B2B) of the market. It noted that the source of meter reading data of each contestable customer given to the CRB will be the concerned DUs themselves. The ERC sees that the DU can provide potential contestable customers with free detailed metering information.

“The ERC assures electricity consumers of its vigilance in monitoring developments in the emerging competitive retail electricity market of the country. It will also ensure that DUs will maintain a policy of non-discriminatory service to its customers. It will continue without fail to look after the well-being of electricity consumers,” ERC Chairperson and CEO Zenaida G. Cruz-Ducut said.