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Joint Congressional Power Commission renamed as Joint Congressional Energy Commission

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Lawmaker members of the country’s primary watchdog in the power sector during a hearing at the Senate, 29 Nov 2017 file image. The panel, Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), has been renamed to Joint Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC) and its oversight function has been strengthened to cover the entire energy sector. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), which serves as the country’s primary watchdog in the power sector, has been renamed to reflect the expansion of its oversight powers to the entire energy sector with the recent passage of Republic Act (RA)  No. 11285 or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, Senator Win Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, said the JCPC, which was created under Section 62 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), will now be called the Joint Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC) once the 18th Congress opens later this month.

He explained that the scope of the JCPC’s oversight function was expanded and its name was changed to the JCEC considering that energy efficiency does not only concern the power sector but the entire energy demand of the country.

“The energy sector is a vibrant industry that keeps on growing and evolving and, as the primary watchdog in the energy sector, we also need to adapt to these changes, especially when it comes to our oversight functions,” Gatchalian said.

According to the lawmaker, the name change was formalized after President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act last April.

Currently, the JCEC’s jurisdiction has been expanded to oversight in the implementation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act; Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF) Act; and the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) Act. In comparison, the main thrust of the oversight function of the JCPC was on power-related issues, as mandated by the EPIRA and Renewable Energy Act.

Gatchalian also noted that JCEC has been given oversight powers in the bills that he has recently filed, including the Microgrid Systems Act, Energy Advocate Act, Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act, and the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute Act.

Moreover, the senator said plans to further expand the JCEC’s oversight power to oil- and gas-related bills, including the (Liquefied Natural Gas) LNG bill.

“We want to assure the energy sector that through the changes to the JCEC, they can rest assured that there will be ample oversight from Congress,” he said.