Change the people, but do not abolish the body. Improve it, reform it, but do not dismantle it. Change the software, upgrade the hardware. Then reboot.
The ERC must stay to police the electricity market. Somebody should blow the whistle on anti-competitive practices in an industry so vital to the nation.
If the power industry is allowed to regulate itself, the consumer is the biggest loser. The ERC functions as a fuse box that trips when price surges happen.
If ever ERC is reformed, then it is by ensuring that its officials are not subject to regulatory capture. On this, President Duterte should appoint known consumer advocates to that body.
The ERC’s 2017 proposed budget of P338 million is linked to three main missions, spelled out in the national budget, and which underscore how vital it is.
First is the promotion of “a competitive market and market operations, including licensing and market monitoring and prohibition against cartelization, monopolization and anti-competitive or discriminatory behavior.”
Second is the enforcement of rules and regulations “governing operations of transmission, distribution, electric utilities, anti-pilferage,” and in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions, impose fines and penalties.
Third is the regulation of fees and charges related to transmission, distribution, electric utilities, “transmission wheeling charges, rates and other levies price of coal, piped gas and other energy sources.”
Thus it is not just an anti-cartel police, but also the industry ombudsman, the playing field umpire, and above all the price-setter whose vigilance or non-vigilance is reflected on the monthly electricity bills of Filipino households.
Dismantle this system and Juan de la Cruz will be electrocuted. Kapag may bugok na mga pulis, hindi tayo nananawagan na buwagin ang PNP. Ganyan din dapat ang trato natin sa ERC.
In the meantime, let us give justice to Atty. Francisco Villa Jr . His death must not be in vain.
21 JUL 2016: Cheaper Electricity Bill Act