The speedy resolution of the leadership situation at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will serve the best interest of power players and consumers as the power industry is a heavily regulated one, a ranking official of Meralco said.
Meralco president Oscar Reyes said that the absence of regulatory functions of the ERC will put the energy industry at risk as it will not be able to ensure power supply and security.
“[Power supply and security] is critical at this point because the country is very well positioned in terms of its growth trajectory. The country has become highly attractive not only to local but also foreign investors. And we don’t want to lose that sort of momentum and confidence,” Reyes said.
Reyes said that since the power industry is a heavily regulated one, operations and services of power distributors to customers are largely affected by the effective function of the regulator.
“There are many, I think, critical pending issues that relate to the operations, the investments, the building of new power plants, the supply of different distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs) so I think it is quite critical that ERC be restored to its regular functioning,” he said.
In December 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the suspension of ERC Commissioners Geronimo Sta. Ana, Josefina Patricia Asirit, Gloria Yap-Taruc, and Alfredo Non for one ear without pay for delaying the conduct of the competitive bidding in securing power supply agreements (PSAs).
The suspension, according to ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera, will paralyze the agency and the whole power industry with P1.59 billion worth of pending applications on the table.
Devanadera also warned of possible power outages in Metro Manila and the provinces due to the pending cases in the ERC as the agency acts as a collegial body where the presence of at least three members of the commission is needed to enable the ERC in creating decisions on ruling, order, resolutions, and other acts.
In previous reports, Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi has asked the Malacañang to appoint temporary commissioners as the president has the authority to do so under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).