By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 29, 2016 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s power producers are hoping the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will immediately get back on track in 2017 to implement reforms in the power industry which is plagued by uncertainties following the suicide of a commission official over alleged corruption within the agency, according to power producers.
In a statement, the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc. (PIPPA) said it trusts that the power regulator would continue to focus on much-needed industry reforms, particularly the implementation of mandatory contestability which is set for February next year.
“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 the power industry recognizes and supports the initiatives and reforms being implemented by the current chair and its commissioners to further the ERC’s institutional integrity, capabilities, and efficiency.
The group issued the statement amid an ongoing impasse involving the ERC, which has cloaked the industry in uncertainty since the one-month leave of ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar last Dec. 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.
With respect to the current investigation on alleged anomalies, PIPPA believes that it will be conducted with due process and resolved expeditiously.
“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.