Press Release
June 16, 2018

Statement on Suspension of ERC Commissioners

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) was created to safeguard the rights and welfare of power consumers, who would otherwise be defenseless against unfair, anti-competitive, and outright anti-consumer practices of powerful, well-moneyed energy industry players - a perfect example of which is the outrageous misuse of bill deposits by distribution utilities. Unfortunately, instead of standing up for the consumers, the ERC allowed an energy industry titan to appropriate billions of pesos worth of consumer deposits for its own corporate purposes. This is absolutely unacceptable.

What is even more unacceptable is the fact that this is the second time within the past seven months that the Ombudsman has found the ERC commissioners administratively liable for failing to fulfill their duty to protect the interests of the consumers. Quite frankly, it's an embarrassment.

Clearly, there is an urgent need to implement sweeping reforms that will restore the institutional integrity of the ERC and rebuild the public confidence in the Commission that has been virtually eliminated by the never-ending list of recent scandals. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, I will fast-track the passage of the ERC Governance Act - a pivotal piece of energy legislation which seeks to accomplish the needed reforms by deconcentrating power within the ERC and by compelling the body to be more open and transparent in its decision-making processes.

Currently, the substitute bill is being finalized by the Committee. I am expecting to sponsor the measure on the Senate floor when the session resumes in July.

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