One more ERC Commissioner for a quorum

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By Rose de la Cruz

 

With the recent appointment of Agnes Devanadera as chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission and Alexis Lumbatan as Commissioner, another member needs to be appointed to make a quorum.

 

Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta, 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy Inc., said a quorum is needed to address rising electricity costs during the elevated world oil prices and the continuing deterioration of the peso versus the dollar.

 

Devanadera and recently-appointed Commissioner Alexis Lumbatan are the only members holding fort now at the regulatory agency. They need one more commissioner to constitute a quorum so they can approve resolutions and decide on pending petitions, including those that can reduce electricity charges, he said.

 

"I am appealing to Malacanang to name very soon the commissioner who will fill the current lone vacancy in the ERC," Uybarreta said. Two commissioners are under Ombudsman suspension.

 

The congressman noted how, an 11.4 percent increase in energy costs of consumers led to nearly a full percentage point contribution--0.8 to be exact--to the 6.4 percent inflation recorded last month of August. Energy costs account for 7.44 percent of the consumer price index.

 

"As soon as the third commissioner is appointed, I ask ERC chairperson Devanadera to immediately convene the ERC commission en banc so they can make up for lost time," Uybarreta also said.

 

Devanadera’s last government post was Secretary of Justice under former President Arrroyo—which was preceded by her stint as Solicitor General.

 

Lumbatan, a personal friend of President Duterte, is known for his political antics that became viral on the internet especially during the president’s inauguration.