DOE supports EPIRA amendments for stronger ERC

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
DOE supports EPIRA amendments for stronger ERC
“We are focusing on different aspects of the amendments. For example, there are reforms that are needed in ERC side,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing for amendments to Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 that will give the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) more teeth against those who do not comply with the regulations.

“We are focusing on different aspects of the amendments. For example, there are reforms that are needed in ERC side,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.

Lotilla said the DOE supports other specific amendments to EPIRA, such as better performance from distribution utilities and the transmission concessionaire, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

He said there would be performance standards on the different sectors like distribution utilities, NGCP, and on the generation plants, which the DOE is working out with the ERC.

“Yes, we support fully those reforms,” Lotilla said.

He  said the DOE also wants the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)’s powers in the energy sector, particularly in relation to that of the ERC, clarified under the proposed amendments to EPIRA.

The ERC under EPIRA is tasked to promote competition, encourage market development, ensure customer choice and penalize abuse of market power in the electricity industry.

Acknowledging the critical role of the ERC in the energy sector, Lotilla said the  Marcos administration is also addressing the low salary levels in the commission.

“Right now, the ERC is exempt from the standardization of salaries law. But what has happened is since 2018, under the previous administration, they have had no adjustment in salaries. So now the current administration is working on the increase in salaries so that we can have more people,” Lotilla said.

Lotilla said Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman has endorsed the increase in salary adjustment for the ERC staff.

The ERC has been pursuing efforts to ensure adequate, sustainable and reasonably-priced electricity through transparent, accountable, and investment-friendly policies.

Under its chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta, the ERC seeks to open up the electric power industry regulator to new ways of crafting and enforcing regulations in a bid to make it a center of excellence in Southeast Asia.

By embarking on a transformational journey to become the country’s most trusted government agency, the ERC aims to be a center of excellence not only in the Philippines, but also in the ASEAN region.

Achieving this would require an opening up of the agency to new, better and other ways of crafting and enforcing regulations.


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