Foreign experts to assist ERC in restructuring efforts

by Lenie Lectura – December 28, 2015

from Business Mirror

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is teaming up with foreign experts to partly assist in its restructuring efforts.

In particular, ERC Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar said the World Bank is sending its procurement expert to work on an information-technology (IT) project.

“We had a meeting with (World Bank) three weeks ago. They were offering assistance. They will send its best IT expert by January,” Salazar said.

The agency is working on reinforcing its IT division. It plans to create a technical working group to achieve its goal of transforming the commission into an IT-related agency.

“Our intention is to make ERC IT-enabled. We intend to put in place an IT system for all submissions in the coming months. Work has already started,” Salazar said.

The ERC chairman said experts from Australia and New Zealand will also assist the commission.

“Aside from the procurement expert, we also have invited regulatory experts from one of our consultants now, which is Castalia, and another regulatory expert from New Zealand. They will discuss how this can be mitigated into a new regime. Hopefully, we can finish this in three to four months,” Salazar said.

Castalia is an advisory firm that specializes in governance and regulation of infrastructure services.

Salazar is hoping that the budget for the agency’s IT infrastructure would be covered by next year’s P716-million budget. But the amount does not yet include the budget for hiring additional personnel.

As part of an ongoing reorganization, Salazar said the agency would double its personnel.

“From 200 plus, we will be 508 when the new organization settles. Majority would be new technical positions. We will strengthen our field offices, deploying technical and legal people,” Salazar said.

Salazar was appointed to head the commission in August. He will lead the agency in the next seven years.

“The intention is that while we try to address the new image of ERC, we would be able to do something about public access. In particular, how do we make the process more effective and efficient,” he said.

The ERC is made up of one chairman and four commissioners—Geronimo Sta. Ana, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia M. Asirit and Alfredo Non.