Lawmaker questions how power firm with P7,000 capital got P100-M deal

Mara Cepeda
Lawmaker questions how power firm with P7,000 capital got P100-M deal
Congressman Jericho Nograles says IEMOP had no experience and no assets, but still bagged the contract to operate the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market

MANILA, Philippines – How did a power company “dubiously” created just two years ago bag the contract to manage the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), earning P100 million worth of profits even with its measly capital of P7,000?

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Representative Jericho Nograles accused the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) of cornering millions of pesos worth of government-funded information technology assets “without any competitive selection process.”

The administration-allied congressman argued that IEMOP is not qualified to manage WESM, which is where power suppliers disclose energy outputs and agree on energy prices. (READ: How does WESM work and affect electric bills?)

It was created following the restructuring of the energy sector under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which requires an independent operator to oversee WESM.

“From the documents submitted, it turns out that IEMOP has no experience, and worse, no assets to serve as the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. No wonder there was no competitive selection process,” Nograles said in a statement on Sunday, January 19.

“Laway lang ang puhunan. Ginigisa ang mga electric users at tayong lahat sa sariling mantika,” he added. (They were all talk. To add insult to injury, electric users and all of us are being made to suffer.)

Citing documents he obtained, Nograles said IEMOP incorporated itself on May 15, 2018, with each of its 7 incorporators contributing only P1,000 as paid-up capital.

Just 4 months after its incorporation, IEMOP took over WESM operations from the Philippine Electricity Marketing Corporation.

But Nograles said there should have been a proper competitive selection process to determine which power firm was most equipped to manage WESM.

“The sweetheart deal made it possible for IEMOP to grow from P7,000 capitalization to become a multimillion outfit with a total declared income of more than P100 million for the end of 2018. This will need a lot of explaining,” said Nograles.

He then urged the House committee on energy, chaired by administration-allied Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, to launch a congressional probe into IEMOP. –


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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.