ERC assures public looming blackouts won't happen

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 14) — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) assured the public Wednesday that the projected massive blackout in two months will no longer happen.

Speaking before the Senate Committee on Energy, the ERC officials said now that the four suspended commissioners are back at work, they are working on resolving at least two cases of power concerns a day to prevent the blackout.

Earlier, ERC chair Agnes Devanadera told the Senate committee that they were anticipating blackouts in April while piles of work sit on the desks of the four suspended commissioners.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, committee chairman, welcomed ERC's projection that pending cases can be resolved in 60 days. The problems range from power plant applications to renewals.

"Everyday magre-resolba sila ng dalawang kaso for the next 60 days so 12:22:11 effectively maraming mga kontratang maa-approve, maraming mga certificate of compliance maapprove at yung worry natin na magkakaroon ng brownout this coming April ay wala nang ganun," Gatchalian said.

This will result in about a thousand megawatts of power that can supply consumers at least in the next 60 days.

In December 2017, the Ombudsman ordered the suspension of ERC Commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta. Ana over alleged anomalous transactions with a number of distributors.

The Court of Appeals issued a 60-day stay order on their suspension to avoid disruption of work. Gatchalian said their suspension can either be restored after the period or be lifted.

Asirit tells the committee they are taking advantage of the time to prepare for contingency measures and address power concerns should their suspension take effect again.

"Perhaps how to address so that there will be no impasse or there will be no disruption if at all should anything similar to this happen," Asirit said.