Section 23. Functions of Distribution Utilities DU
A DU provides distribution services and connections to its system for any end-user within its franchise area consistent with the distribution code.
- provide open and non-discriminatory access to its distribution system to all users.
- can collect distribution wheeling charges and connection fees from such end-users as approved by the ERC.
- supply electricity in the least cost manner to its captive market, subject to the collection of retail rate duly approved by the ERC.
To achieve economies of scale, DUs may, after due notice and public hearing, pursue structural and operational reforms such as but not limited to, joint actions between or among the distribution utilities, subject to the guidelines issued by the ERC. Such joint actions shall result in improved efficiencies, reliability of service, reduction of costs and compliance to the performance standards prescribed in the IRR of this Act.
Distribution utilities shall submit to the ERC a statement of their compliance with the technical specifications prescribed in the Distribution Code and the performance standards prescribed in the IRR of this Act.
Distribution utilities which do not comply with any of the prescribed technical specifications and performance standards shall submit to the ERC a plan to comply, within three (3) years, with said prescribed technical specifications and performance standards.
The ERC shall, within sixty (60) days upon receipt of such plan, evaluate the same and notify the distribution utility concerned of its action.
Failure to submit a feasible and credible plan and/or failure to implement the same shall serve as grounds for the imposition of appropriate sanctions, fines or penalties.
Distribution utilities shall prepare and submit to the DOE their annual distributions developments plans. In the case of electric cooperatives, such plans shall be submitted through the NEA.
Distribution utilities shall provide universal service within their franchise, over a reasonable time from the requirement thereof, including unviable areas, as part of their social obligations, in a manner that shall sustain the economic viability of the utility, subject to the approval by the ERC in the case of private or government-owned utilities.
To this end, distribution utilities shall submit to the DOE their plans for serving such areas as part of their distribution development plans.
Areas which a franchised distribution utility cannot or does not find viable may be transferred to another distribution utility, if any is available, who will provide the service, subject approval by ERC. In cases where franchise holders fail and/or refuse to service any area within their franchise territory and allowed another utility to service the same, then the status quo shall be respected.
Distribution utilities may exercise the power of eminent domain subject to the requirements of the Constitution and existing laws.
Section 24. Distribution Wheeling Charge
The distribution wheeling charges of distribution utilities shall be filed with and approved by the ERC pursuant to Paragraph (f) of Section 43 hereof.
Section25. Retail Rate
The retail rates charged by distribution utilities for the supply of electricity in their captive market shall be subject to regulation by the ERC based on the principle of full recovery of prudent and reasonable economic costs incurred, or such other principles that will promote efficiency as may be determined by the ERC.Every distribution utility shall identify and segregate in its bills to end-users the components of the retail rate, as defined in this Act.
Section 26. Distribution Related Businesses
Distribution utilities may, directly or indirectly, engage in any related business undertaking which maximizes the utilization of their assets: Provided, That a portion of the net income derived from such undertaking utilizing assets which form part of the rate base shall be used to reduce its distribution wheeling charges as determined by the ERC. Provided, further, That such portion of net income used to reduce their distribution wheeling charges shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the net income derived from such undertaking: Provided, finally, That separate accounts are maintained for each business undertaking to ensure that the distribution business shall neither subsidize in any way such business undertaking nor encumber its distribution assets in any way to support such business.
Section 27. Franchising Power in the Electric Power Sector
The power to grant franchises to persons engaged in the transmission and distribution of electricity shall be vested exclusively in the Congress of the Philippines and all laws inconsistent with this Act particularly, but not limited to, Section 43 of PD 269, otherwise known as the “National Electrification Decree”, are hereby deemed repealed or modified accordingly: Provided, That all existing franchises shall be allowed to their full term: Provided, further, That in the case of electric cooperatives, renewals and cancellations shall remain with the National Electrification Commission under the National Electrification Administration for five (5) more years after the enactment of this Act.
Section 28. De-Monopolization and Shareholding Dispersal
In compliance with the constitutional mandate for dispersal of ownership and de-monopolization of public utilities, the holdings of persons, natural or juridical, including directors, officers, stockholders and related interests, in a distribution utility and their respective holding companies shall not exceed 25% of the voting shares of stock unless the utility or the company holding the shares or its controlling stockholders are already listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE): Provided, That controlling stockholders of small distribution utilities are hereby required to list in the PSE within five (5) years from the enactment of this Act if they already own the stocks. New controlling stockholders shall undertake such listing within five (5) years from the time they acquire ownership and control. A small distribution company is one whose peak demand is equal to or less than Ten megawatts (10MW).
The ERC shall, within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate the rules and regulations to implement and effect this provision. This Section shall not apply to electric cooperatives.
Section 29. Supply Sector
The supply sector is a business affected with public interest. Except for distribution utilities and electric cooperatives with respect to their existing franchise areas, all suppliers of electricity to the contestable market shall require a license from the ERC.
For this purpose, the ERC shall promulgate rules and regulations prescribing the qualifications of electricity suppliers which shall include, among other requirements, a demonstration of their technical capability, financial capability, and creditworthiness: Provided, That the ERC shall have authority to require electricity suppliers to furnish a bond or other evidence of the ability of a supplier to withstand market disturbances or other events that may increase the cost of providing service.
Any law to the contrary notwithstanding , supply of electricity to the contestable market shall not be considered a public utility operation. For this purpose, any person or entity which shall engage in the supply of electricity to the contestable market shall not be required to secure a national franchise. The prices to be charged by suppliers for the supply of electricity to the contestable market shall not be subject to regulation by the ERC.Electricity suppliers shall be subject to the rules and regulations concerning abuse of market power, cartelization, and other anti-competitive or discriminatory behavior to be promulgated by the ERC. In its billings to end-users, every supplier shall identify and segregate the components of its supplier’s charge, as defined herein.
Section 30. Wholesale Electricity Spot Market WESM.
Within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, the DOE shall establish WESM.
It shall provide the mechanism for identifying and setting the price of actual variations from the quantities transacted under contracts between sellers and purchasers of electricity.
Jointly with the electric power industry participants, the DOE shall formulate the rules for it. This includes the mechanism for determining the price of electricity, subject to the approval of ERC, not covered by bilateral contracts between sellers and purchasers of electricity users.
The rules shall have procedures for:
- Establishing the merit order dispatch instructions for each time period
- Determining the market-clearing price for each time period
- Administering the market, including criteria for admission to and termination from the market which includes security or performance bond requirements, voting rights of the participants
- surveillance and assurance of compliance of the participants with the rules and the formation of the wholesale electricity spot market governing body
- Prescribing guidelines for the market operation in system emergencies; and
- Amending the rules
WESM shall be implemented by a market operator, an autonomous group, to be constituted by DOE, with equitable representation from electric power industry participants, initially under the administrative supervision of the TRANSCO.
The market operator shall undertake the preparatory work and initial operation of the wholesale electricity spot market. Not later than one (1) year after the implementation of the wholesale electricity spot market, an independent entity shall be formed and the functions, assets and liabilities of the market operator shall be transferred to such entity with the joint endorsement of the DOE and the electric power industry participants.
Thereafter, the administrative supervision of the TRANSCO over such entity shall cease.
Subject to the compliance with the membership criteria, all generating companies, distribution utilities, suppliers, bulk consumers/end-users and other similar entities authorized by the ERC shall be eligible to become members of the wholesale electricity spot market.
The ERC may authorize other similar entities to become eligible as members, either directly or indirectly, of the wholesale electricity spot market. All generating companies, distribution utilities, suppliers, bulk consumers/end-users and other similar entities authorized by the ERC, whether direct or indirect members of the wholesale electricity spot market, shall be bound by the wholesale electricity spot market, shall be bound by the wholesale electricity spot market rules with respect to transactions in that market.
NEA may, in exchange for adequate security and a guarantee fee, act as a guarantor for purchases of electricity in the wholesale electricity spot market by any electric cooperative or small distribution utility to support their credit standing consistent with the provisions hereof. For this purpose, the authorized capital stock of NEA is hereby increased to 15b.
All electric cooperatives which have outstanding uncollected billings to any local government unit shall report such billings to NEA which shall, in turn, report the same to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for collection pursuant to Executive Order 190 issued on December 21, 1999.
The cost of administering and operating the wholesale electricity spot market shall be recovered by the market operator through a charge imposed to all market members: Provided, That such charge shall be filed with and approved by the ERC. In cases of national and international security emergencies or natural calamities, the ERC is hereby empowered to suspend the operation of the wholesale electricity spot market or declare a temporary wholesale electricity spot market failure.