By Myrna M. Velasco – September 15, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin
Long-time renewable energy advocate Catherine P. Maceda will finally complete the line-up of Commissioner-appointees at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the regulating agency of the restructured electricity sector.
Maceda had been seen in energy circles primarily when the RE sector was still pushing a legislation that shall underpin the flow of investments in the industry.
According to Malacañang sources, Maceda’s papers had already been signed by President Duterte and she has also accepted the appointment. “She is anticipated to report to the ERC on Monday (September 17,” the Palace source said. Maceda is not exactly a newcomer in the industry, so it is expected that her learning curve will not need to be that long.
The completion of the new appointments will then fulfill the wish of ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera into finally having a quorum at the Commission level, which is highly necessary for them to deliberate on cases – especially the power supply agreements (PSAs) of which provisional approvals are due to lapse.
“Our priority will be those expiring PAs, there are a lot of periods that already lapsed for the Commission to act on them,” Devanadera has indicated.
There are currently 14 PSA cases for deliberation whether or not they shall be granted provisional approvals; while five more are batting for extension of their PAs.
Malacañang just recently designated Davao-based lawyer Alexis Lumbatan as a new ERC Commissioner, replacing one of the two officials who retired in July. Commissioners Josefina Patricia M. Asirit and Geronimo D. Sta. Ana will also be coming back October 9 from their enforced three-month suspension.
“But now, we are ready. We’re just waiting for the quorum. We have done all the staff work for all the cases that are urgent,” Devanadera said.
If these pending cases will be resolved expeditiously, “then that will already cover the work of the Commission for the next one to two months.”
She qualified though that they will always be on catch-up mode the rest of the year given the extent of work derailed when there were no Commission-level deliberations.
For Lumbatan, the ERC chief relayed that “he is still on his learning curve. We provided him with all the materials that he will need to study and read on.”
She added that her advice to the new Commissioner is “not to be disappointed with himself if you don’t absorb everything within the shortest possible time, because it doesn’t happen that you can absorb everything all at the same time. Everybody has a learning curve to deal with.”