MANILA—A senator has warned the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) that new investors would never take them seriously unless it addresses their backlog in feed-in-tariff (FiT) rate payments.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian made this warning after the ERC, during the recent hearing of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), revealed that it has a Php 6.6 billion backlog in FIT rate payments to renewable energy developers for the year 2016.
This backlog includes Php 230 million in interest payments.
Gatchalian linked the backlog to the slow action of ERC commissioners on applications of the National Transmission Corp. (Transco) to collect higher FiT-All rates meant to augment its subsidy and pay its obligations.
“I hate to say it, but because of the delays of ERC, we will be paying Php 230 million in interest payments…I know that the amount will grow bigger. Every day it piles up,” Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy said.
“…We will never get serious investors if we don’t fulfill our contractual obligations, and FiT-All is one of them,” he added.
In December 2015, Transco sought to increase the FiT-All rate for 2016 to 12 centavos per kilowatt hour. Before the application can be approved, Transco filed another application in December 2016, this time asking to further hike the rate to 22 centavos per kilowatt hour.
ERC officials told members of the JCPC that it is set to issue its final approval of the 2016 application on June 9.
They are also set to convene the first jurisdictional and expository meeting for the 2017 rate application on May 15 and its approval by September 2017.