Cross Ownership, Market Power Abuse and Anti-Competitive Behavior
Section 45. Cross Ownership, Market Power Abuse and Anti-Competitive Behavior
No participant in the electricity industry or any other person may engage in any anti-competitive behavior including, but not limited to, cross-subsidization, price or market manipulation, or other unfair trade practices detrimental to the encouragement and protection of contestable markets.
No generation company, distribution utility, or its respective subsidiary or affiliate or stockholder or official of a generation company or distribution utility, or other entity engaged in generating and supplying electricity specified by ERC within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, shall be allowed to hold any interest, directly or indirectly, in TRANSCO or its concessionaire.
Likewise, the TRANSCO, or its concessionaire or any of its stockholders or officials or any of their relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, shall not hold any interest, whether directly or indirectly, in any generation company or distribution utility. Except for ex officio government-appointed representatives, no person who is an officer or director of the TRANSCO or its concessionaire shall be an officer or director of any generation company, distribution utility or supplier.
An “affiliate” means any person which, alone or together with any other person, directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another person. As used herein, “control” shall mean the power to direct or cause the direction of the management policies of a person by contract, agency or otherwise.
To promote true market competition and prevent harmful monopoly and market power abuse, the ERC shall enforce the following safeguards:
a No company or related group can own, operate or control more than 30% of the installed generating capacity of a grid and/or 25% of the national installed generating capacity. “Related group” includes a person’s business interests, including its subsidiaries, affiliates, directors or officers or any of their relatives by consanguinity or affinity, legitimate or common law, within the fourth civil degree;
b Distribution utilities may enter into bilateral power supply contracts subject to review by the ERC: Provided, That such review shall only be required for distribution utilities whose markets have not reached household demand level. For the purpose of preventing market power abuse between associated firms engaged in generation and distribution, no distribution utility shall be allowed to source from bilateral power supply contracts more than 50% of its total demand from an associated firm engaged in generation but such limitation, however, shall not prejudice contracts entered into prior to the effectivity of this Act. An associated firm with respect to another entity refers to any person which, alone or together with any other person, directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, such entity
c For the first 5 years from the establishment of the wholesale electricity spot market, no distribution utility shall source more than 90% of its total demand from bilateral power supply contracts.
The grid basis shall consist of 3 separate grids, namely Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The ERC shall have the authority to modify or amend this definition of a grid when two or more of the three separate grids become sufficiently interconnected to constitute a single grid or as conditions may otherwise permit.
Exceptions from these limitations shall be allowed for isolated grids that are not connected to the high voltage transmission system.
Except as otherwise provided for in this Section, any restriction on ownership and/or control between or within sectors of the electricity industry may be imposed by ERC only insofar as the enforcement of the provisions of this Section is concerned.
The ERC shall, within 1 year from the effectivity of this Act., promulgate rules and regulations to ensure and promote competition, encourage market development and customer choice and discourage/penalize abuse of market power, cartelization and any anti-competitive or discriminatory behavior, in order to further the intent of this Act and protect the public interest. Such rules and regulations shall define the following:
- a) the relevant markets for purposes of establishing abuse or misuse of monopoly or market position;
- b) areas of isolated grids
- c) the periodic reportorial requirements of electric power industry participants as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this Section.
The ERC shall, motu proprio, monitor and penalize any market power abuse or anti-competitive or discriminatory act or behavior by any participant in the electric power industry. Upon finding that a market participant has engaged in such act or behavior, the ERC shall stop and redress the same.
Such remedies shall, without limitation, include the imposition of price controls, issuance of injunctions, requirement of divestment or disgorgement of excess profits and imposition of fines and penalties pursuant to this Act.
The ERC shall, within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate rules and regulations providing for a complaint procedure that, without limitation, provides the accused party with notice and an opportunity to be heard.
Section 46. Fines and Penalties
The fines and penalties that shall be imposed by the ERC for any violation of or non-compliance with this Act or the IRR shall range from a minimum of P50,000 to a maximum of 50m pesos.
Any person who is found guilty of any of the prohibited acts pursuant to Section 45 hereof shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor and fine ranging from 10k pesos to 10m pesos, or both, at the discretion of the court.
The members of the Board of Directors of the juridical companies participating in or covered in the generation companies, the distribution utilities, the TRANSCO or its concessionaire or supplier who violate the provisions of this Act may be fined by an amount not exceeding double the amount of damages caused by the offender or by imprisonment of one (1) year or two (2) years or both at the discretion of the court.
This rule shall apply to the members of the Board who knowingly or by neglect allows the commission or omission under the law. If the offender is a government official or employee, he shall, in addition, be dismissed from the government service with prejudice to reinstatement and with perpetual or temporary disqualification from holding any elective or appointive office.
If the offender is an alien, he may, in addition to the penalties prescribed, be deported without further proceedings after service of sentence.
Any case which involves question of fact shall be appealable to the Court of Appeals and those which involve question of law shall be directly appealable to the Supreme Court.The administrative sanction that may be imposed by the ERC shall be without prejudice to the filing of a criminal action, if warranted.
To ensure compliance with this Act, the penalty of prision correccional or a fine ranging from P5,000 to 5 million pesos or both, at the discretion of the court, shall be imposed on any person, including but not limited to the president, member of the Board, Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operating Officer of the corporation, partnership, or any other entity involved, found guilty of violating or refusing to comply with any provision of this Act or its IRR, other than those provided herein.
Any party to an administrative proceeding may, at any time, make an offer to the ERC, conditionally or otherwise, for a consented decree, voluntary compliance or desistance and other settlement of the case.
The offer and any or all of the ultimate facts upon which the offer is based shall be considered for settlement purposes only and shall not be used as evidence against any party for any other purpose and shall not constitute an admission by the party making the offer of any violation of the laws, rules, regulations, orders and resolutions of the ERC, nor as a waiver to file any warranted criminal actions.
In addition, Congress may, upon recommendation of the DOE and/or ERC, revoke such franchise or privilege granted to the party who violated the provisions of this Act.