Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras is amendable to implement open access and retail competition next year provided that there is adequate power supply in the grid, a government press release said.
Almendras said the technical working group led by the Department of Energy, which is conducting its study on the readiness of the market for open access, is set to complete its report this month.
He said government will make its recommendation whether to postpone open access, slated to commence on December 26, based on the report of the technical working group.
"If not.. if we do [postpone], it should not be too long," Almendras said, acknowledging that there is a need to put up the settlement mechanism and other infrastructure for open access.
Open access and retail competition will allow large power users, with an average monthly peak demand of one megawatt, have the right to choose their own electricity suppliers.
The entry of more competition in the retail electricity sector is expected to bring down power costs to large users.
Almendras said if moved to a new date, the implementation should ideally be after the summer months. Power demand generally goes up during summer months resulting to a tight supply situation, the press release said.
"My view, ideally, it's a good time when you're not - when generation is not short," he said.
Almendras said DOE's decision whether to postpone the implementation should not prejudice the ongoing hearings at the Energy Regulatory Commission on the petition of various groups.
Power industry stakeholders are asking ERC to defer the implementation open access and retail competition slated by December 26 until certain concerns are resolved.
"Our concern stems from the fact that the remaining time between now and [Dec. 26] will be grossly inadequate for the completion of both the policy framework as well as the establishment of the necessary systems," the power groups said, the press release added.
They said there is a need to step up the accounting, billing and settlement of transactions for open access, which could take 12 to 15 months to put up.*PNA