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ERC hopes to strengthen consumer protection in review of regulations

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THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will review existing rules and make changes as amend those as warranted in a move that seeks to improve protection for consumers.

“We are acting on the electric power industry’s plea to strengthen the ERC. We recognized that we have entered a new regime where consumer benefit consciousness has to be given utmost consideration,” ERC Chair Agnes T. Devanadera said in a statement.

“In this connection, I have directed the review of all ERC Rules with direct impact on electricity consumers and improve thereon, if warranted,” she added.

The ERC has promised to implement a number of initiatives to step up its regulation of the electric power industry.

The move is also in line with the agency’s recently launched “ERC’s 5Es”: ERC on Wheels; ERC Academy; eWISE (ERC Web Portal for Interactive and Systematic Exchange); ERC on Emerging Technologies; and ERC Enabling Electrification.

“We will fast-track the review and, if necessary, amend the relevant ERC Rules to ensure that the consumers’ welfare is promoted and protected.

As we strengthen the ERC’s processes, we will also make sure that our policies are robust and legally defensible,” Ms. Devanadera said.

In its statement, the ERC also said energy groups, distribution utilities, electric power industry stakeholders, and other government agencies supported the regulator’s call to strengthen, rather than abolish the regulatory agency.

It listed the entities as Philippine Electric Plant Owners Association, Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, National Electrification Administration, National Power Corp., National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of Energy.

It said the energy groups on June 25 also “expressed their views and concerns on streamlining vis-a-vis abolishing the ERC before a Congressional meeting.” — Victor V. Saulon