Inoperative ERC damaging to the energy sector—PIPPA

By Alena Mae S. Flores – December 24, 2017 at 06:45 pm

The Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc., the country’s association of power generators, warned that the absence of a functioning Energy Regulatory Commission will be devastating to the energy sector.

“PIPPA would like to stress that the energy industry needs a fully functional commission in order to effectively implement their mandate in accordance with EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act),” PIPPA said in a statement.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 called for reforms in the power industry and tasked the ERC to regulate the industry.

The Office of the Ombudsman ordered a one-year suspension on all four commissioners of the ERC—Josefina Patricia Asirit, Alfredo Non, Geronimo Sta. Ana and Gloria Yap-Taruc last week—for allegedly giving the Manila Electric Co. an undue advantage when it exempted it from the competitive selection process on power supply agreements.

“Without a working commission and putting a pause on the important work of the ERC, we will find ourselves without the needed approvals for PSAs, connection agreements, price determination regulation, compliance certificates and licenses,” PIPPA said.

PIPPA, an association of around 28 companies engaged in power generation, said the regulatory requirements were dependent on the ERC and “will negatively impact everyone from the generators, distribution utilities and ultimately to the consumers.”

PIPPA’s members collectively have about 13,549.4 megawatts of grid installed capacity, or 82.8 percent of the country’s total, and serve millions of Filipinos in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“As such, we cannot afford any delay on these activities as it will be detrimental to not only to the industry but to each and every consumer who relies on energy security,” PIPPA  said.

The group called for the quick and fair resolution of the issue “so that the entire industry can move forward and work to achieve energy security, reliability, accessibility and affordability for all consumers.”

Senate Energy Committee chairman Sherwin Gatchalian also urged Malacañang to appoint acting commissioners of the ERC during the period of suspension of the four commissioners.