Competition Law & Anti-Trust

PCC seeks Own Probe on Luzon Power Outages

Date: 22 April 2019; Type: Industry Updates; Source: Philippine News Agency

MANILA, Apr 22 (PNA) - The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) announced that it will investigate allegations of collusion or abuse of dominance among energy companies that led to the recent series of power outages in Luzon.

In a statement on Monday, the PCC said it will assess whether the recent power outages across Luzon were part of a ploy to increase electricity prices or if they were truly unplanned breakdowns of several power plants happening one after the other.

“The recent spate of scheduled and forced outages in Luzon by different power plants has reportedly reduced power reserves, caused calls for red or yellow alerts, and induced rotating brownouts, which in turn sparked complaints from the public,” the competition watchdog’s statement reads.

The PCC warned power generation companies from engaging in anticompetitive or collusive behavior, which is punishable by fines of up to PHP250 million and imprisonment of responsible officers up to seven years under the Philippine Competition Act.

“The Commission, through its enforcement unit, welcomes the call for technical reports or audits by the Department of Energy (DOE) over the concerned power plants and their control rooms, as well as any lead or information from the public or experts in the field,” the PCC added.

The PCC intends to hold negotiations with the Energy Department and the Energy Regulatory Commission towards the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement to facilitate market competition and investigations in the power sector.

Successive power interruptions hit the Luzon grid earlier this month due to declining energy reserves as a result of unplanned outages that hit several power plants.

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