Power producers across the country are hoping that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will get back on track in 2017 and finally reform following the suicide of a commission official over alleged corruption in the agency.
Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc (PIPPA) said that it trusts ERC to focus on the much-needed industry reforms, especially on the implementation of the mandatory contestability which is set for February.
“In the coming year, we hope the ERC will once again continue to bring the reforms back on track,” PIPPA managing director Anne Estorco Macias said.
“Mandatory contestability is a new and exciting phase in the electric power industry. The industry is hopeful that the ERC is on top of its implementation,” he said.
PIPPA said that the country’s power industry recognizes and supports the reforms and initiatives taken by the current chair and commissioners of the ERC to deepen the commission’s institutional integrity, capabilities, and efficiency.
The group has issued the statement with the ongoing issue involving the ERC that has wrapped the industry in uncertainty since ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar took a one-month leave last December 5.
Salazar went on leave to accommodate an investigation launched by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Commission on Audit over irregularities alleged by the late ERC director Jun Villa in his suicide notes.
Following the death of Villa, President Duterte has repeatedly called for the ERC’s top officials resignation or else the commission will be abolished.
PIPPA hopes that the investigation on alleged anomalies will be resolved with due process and as quickly as possible.
“PIPPA is hopeful that the ERC will continue and remain to be the energy sector’s regulatory body, exercising its mandate under the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act),” the group said.
Citing the urgency to modernize and expand the country’s current infrastructure, PIPPA stressed that more investments were needed in the industry now more than ever. Continuity and a certainty in policy direction are imperatives in raising such investments.