The Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines, Inc. (IEMOP) is deeply concerned about recycled criticisms against it—including those questioning the legality of its status as Independent Market Operator (IMO) for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
IEMOP emphasizes that its operation of the WESM is sanctioned by law. Republic Act R.A. No. 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), mandates that the WESM should be operated by an entity independent of the government and industry players.
Consequently, and pursuant to this law, the Department of Energy (DOE) promulgated DOE Circular No. DC2018-01-0002, titled “Adopting Policies for the Effective and Efficient Transition to the Independent Market Operator for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.” The circular effected the transition of the WESM operations from the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) to IEMOP, or from the Autonomous Group Market Operator (AGMO) to the IMO. This transition was endorsed by the electric power industry participants, while the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Joint Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC) were notified and were present at the WESM operations turnover ceremony.
Contrary to accusations that it had either contributed to or occasioned higher power costs, IEMOP had significantly lowered the cost of market operations since it took over the WESM in 2018 (it saved Php 58.295 million in 2019 and Php 68.199 million in 2020), reduced the total market transaction fees in the WESM, and has consistently operated the WESM up to industry standards.
IEMOP took over WESM operations pursuant to law and DOE policy (which has the force of law) and will continue to fulfill its mandate—again, pursuant to law and DOE policy.
IEMOP will abide by whatever policy the DOE establishes—even one that amends or altogether supersedes the very policy effecting the transition of WESM operations to IEMOP.
The malicious attacks against IEMOP (including its directors and officers), therefore, are not only actionable, legally, but also groundless, operationally.
Atty. Richard J. Nethercott, President & CEO of IEMOP, clarified that “IEMOP has no vested interest in WESM operations. We have a mandate. And we are faithfully performing that mandate. Interestingly, the policy that led to the transition of WESM operations to IEMOP was never questioned before our courts. DOE Circular No. DC2018-01-0002, unless revoked or superseded by subsequent legislation, is valid and binding on all energy participants. Even the ERC, which has since refused to acknowledge IEMOP, has never questioned the circular.”
“We are not unmindful, however, of unfounded criticisms that have effectively demoralized our personnel. Thus, I take this occasion to call on the DOE to revisit DOE Circular No. DC2018-01-0002 and reassess the viability of maintaining the two-entity set-up of the WESM operations and governance,” Atty. Nethercott added.
IEMOP reiterates that the transition process was undertaken transparently and pursuant to law and DOE policy, with all government authorities and stakeholders notified of the steps leading to IEMOP’s assumption of WESM operations.
Hence, while respecting the right to free expression, IEMOP nonetheless requests its critics to exercise prudence in expressing their views—especially those that are unfounded or, worse, libelous.
IEMOP assures the general public that it will abide by all policies promulgated by the DOE—as it has previously done so consistently.