Senator Win Gatchalian has assured the public that no massive brownouts would happen this summer following the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) recently issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) against the suspension of four commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
“It’s a blessing na nakaupo na rin ang apat na commissioners, at least for the next 60 days, para maresolba na rin ang mga pending cases, and the Court of Appeals took note that importante talaga itong power industry dahil lahat tayo ay nangangailangan ng kuryente,” he said in an ambush interview.
In December 2017 the Office of the Ombudsman served a one-year suspension on four commissioners of the ERC who were found liable for not implementing the Competitive Selection Process (CSP), thus unduly favoring certain distribution utilities. According to ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera, the ERC received the memo from the Office of the President directing the implementation of the suspension last January 22, 2018.
The TRO provides a 60-day reprieve to the ERC to fully function as a collegial body in the approval of new requests and renewals of Certificates of Compliance (COC), as well as the granting of extensions of Provisional Authority to Operate (PAO), and the crafting of important orders and resolutions concerning the power sector.
“Kaya importante na in the next 60 days, mag-double or mag-triple time ang ERC dahil yan ang window natin para maaprubahan ang mga pending contracts,” the senator added.
During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy last week, Gatchalian revealed that the demand for power increases by about 15 to 20% every summer. With the given period, the ERC expects the disposition and promulgation of 60 pending cases and the completion of the technical process for 40 new cases.
The ERC has recently approved two (2) new COCs, while seven (7) others are undergoing evaluation. On the other hand, eight (8) more COCs are pending for renewal as they shall be expiring by June 2018.
Gatchalian, the chair of the Senate Energy Committee, further explained the new applications and renewals have a total power capacity of 2,156.38 megawatts (MW), which is enough to cover the country’s power requirements this summer.
Meanwhile, Devanadera announced the body’s promulgation of a resolution for the adoption of rules to lower the cap on the allowable rate of system losses that can be passed-on to consumers. The said resolution was promulgated on February 13.