By Lenie Lectura – Business Mirror

The Department of Energy (DOE) is mulling over the possibility of implementing the retail competition and open access (RCOA) policy on a voluntary basis.

Under the said policy, which will be enforced in phases, consumers are allowed to choose their supplier of electricity to encourage competition in the generation and supply sector.

Under the rules, the implementation of mandatory migration for contestable customers (CCs) with 1 megawatt (MW) and up average peak demand is on February 26, 2017.

Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the schedule would push through. “It is pushing through, because it is mandated. The schedule will push through. What we are looking at is to make it optional,” Fuentebella said.

He said the DOE, together with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is currently evaluating this.

“We are looking at the mandatory aspect. How about the contestable customers that were not offered a RES [retail electricity supplier]? [DOE] Secretary [Alfonso] Cusi wants to revisit this policy, so there maybe an adjustment,” he added.

Cusi, he said, is open to enforcing this on a voluntary basis. “He is open [to] making it not mandatory, [but] only optional so as to strengthen this policy and for consumers to have more…choices,”  Fuentebella said.

Based on existing rules, an end-user with an average monthly peak demand of at least 1 MW is mandated to enter into a Retail Supply Contract (RSC) with a RES by its mandatory contestability date of December 26, 2016.

Mandatory contestability for CCs with 750 kW to 999 kW average peak demand will, however, remain to be effective on June 26, 2017.

The rules also state that the lowering of the threshold to cover an end-user with an average monthly peak demand of at least 500 kW is set on June 26, 2018, subject to the review of the performance of the retail market by the ERC.