THE Court of Appeals (CA) has given the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) the go signal to hear and resolve anti competitive behavior and other unfair trade and practices against power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and the subsidiaries of power firm Aboitiz Power Corp. in connection with the shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility,
which affected the country’s power supply in 2013.
In a 25-page decision penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr., the CA’s Special Twelfth Division junked the petition filed by Meralco and Aboitiz subsidiaries Therma Mobile Inc. (TMO) and AP Renewables Inc. seeking the dismissal of the complaint filed by ERC’s investigating unit on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
The appellate court did not give weight to the petitioners’ argument the Philippine Competition Commission has jurisdiction over the complaint.
On December 26, 2013, the ERC issued an order constituting an investigating unit (IU) to probe the possible commission of anticompetitive behavior, abuse of market power or other unfair trade and practices in connection with the Malampaya plant shutdown.
Following an investigation, the IU found prima facie case against Meralco, TMO and AP Renewables.
On June 4, 2015, a formal complaint for anticompetitive behavior was lodged before the ERC against the three companies, particularly for alleged “economic withholding” under Rule 11, Section 1 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act implementing rules and regulations.