By Lenie Lectura – November 29, 2018
from Business Mirror
THE Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC) tasked to streamline the regulatory procedures of energy projects has included the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in the council.
The EICC, chaired by the Department of Energy with representatives from other government agencies as council members, was created by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 30.
EO 30, issued on June 30, 2017, states that concerned government agencies shall act upon applications for permits involving Energy Projects of National Significance not exceeding a 30-day period. If no decision is made within the specified processing timeframe, the application is deemed approved by the concerned agency.
Energy Undersecretary Jesus Cristino P. Posadas said during a forum held on Wednesday morning that the ERC was not in the original list because “it appears that the ERC is an independent body.”
The council was officially formed in October last year.
Realizing the ERC’s vital role in fast-tracking approvals for energy projects, Posadas said the council was the one that asked the ERC to join. “We are the ones that initiated the move to have [ERC] included because we realized that [ERC] is the last portion of this parallel permitting process. Without them, power plants will not operate,” said Posadas during a roundtable held on Wednesday morning in Quezon City.
ERC Spokesman Floresinda Digal is the ERC’s representative to the EICC.
When sought for comment, Digal recalled that the stakeholders were the ones who recommended the ERC to be included in the council, “considering that some of the investments involved will be in the power sector.”
“The expectation is that we would comply with the timelines in the EO when it comes to permitting power projects. For the generation companies, it’s the Certificate of Compliance [COC] that will be covered by the EO,” she said.
A COC is one of the vital requirements needed to be secured by a power-generation firm before it can commercially operate a power facility.
With the ERC on board, Posadas said power firms applying for COCs can expect permitting process to be fast-tracked.
Apart from the ERC, the EICC is composed of representatives from various national government agencies and relevant energy institutions, such as the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Finance, Justice and Transportation, National Electrification Administration, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, National Power Corp., National Transmission Corp., Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and other relevant government agencies.
The council also maintains a database of information and a Web-based monitoring system for information exchange and updates to uphold transparency and accountability.