By Myrna M. Velasco
Once it will achieve quorum at the return of its two Commissioners next month, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will prioritize deliberations on at least 19 power supply agreements (PSAs) that were just given provisional approvals (PAs) previously.
“Our priority will be those expiring PAs, there are a lot of periods that already lapsed for the Commission to act on them,” ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera has indicated.
There are currently 14 PSA cases for deliberation whether or not they shall be granted provisional approvals; while five more are batting for extension of their PAs.
Devanadera qualified “we don’t have a quorum yet… there’s just one new Commissioner appointed, then the two will return definitely on October 9,” the ERC chief stressed.
Malacañang just recently designated Davao-based lawyer Alexis Lumbatan as a new ERC Commissioner, replacing one of the two officials who retired in July.
Commissioners Josefina Patricia M. Asirit and Geronimo D. Sta. Ana will also be coming back next month from their enforced three-month suspension.
“But now, we are ready. We’re just waiting for the quorum. We have done all the staff work for all the cases that are urgent,” Devanadera said.
If these pending cases will be resolved expeditiously, “then that will already cover the work of the Commission for the next one to two months.”
She qualified though that they will always be on catch-up mode the rest of the year given the extent of work derailed when there were no Commission-level deliberations.
For Lumbatan, the ERC chief relayed that “he is still on his learning curve. We provided him with all the materials that he will need to study and read on.”
She added that her advice to the new Commissioner is “not to be disappointed with himself if you don’t absorb everything within the shortest possible time, because it doesn’t happen that you can absorb everything all at the same time. Everybody has a learning curve to deal with.”