ERC approves 37,817 operating licenses for power facilities

Published November 25, 2020, 1:30 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has approved and issued 37,817 certificates of compliance (COCs), or the licenses that the qualified industry players would need so they can continually operate their facilities.

The issued COCs, according to the industry regulator, were as of September 30 this year; and this had been bestowed to various players, including generation companies (GenCos), qualified end-users and entities with self-generating facilities.

Given that many approvals were sorted and worked on despite the nagging health crisis, ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera indicated that their action on the COCs “shows the agency’s resiliency and commitment to achieve its targets despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera

She said key in their mandate is “to ensure that there will be sufficient power supply to keep the hospitals running round the clock, and that the students and workers who are studying and working online will get continuous electricity connection.”

Overall, the regulatory body said it granted approval to 113 applications for the issuance of COCs and provisional authorities to operate (PAO) for Gencos, SGFs and qualified end-users.

The green-lighted COC applications, according to the ERC, accounted for 4,213.83 megawatts of electric generating capacity, that the country critically needed as many Filipinos are stuck in their homes either due to online learning or work-from-home arrangements.

Amid the height of the lockdown in the second quarter of the year, the ERC emphasized that it was still able to issue 21 COCs to various power facilities.

Within that timeframe, the industry regulator admitted that processing of COC applications “were affected due to the limitations brought about by the pandemic, as well as the lockdowns imposed in the ERC’s office.”

But Devanadera qualified “our agency was able to quickly adapt to the ‘new normal’ and implemented alternative work arrangements that enabled the conduct of virtual power plant inspections, instead of the usual ocular or physical inspections.”

Corollary to that, the ERC chief noted that the agency promulgated the guidelines that shall govern electronic filing (e-filing) of applications or petitions as well as the conduct of virtual public hearings for cases that are pending for deliberations and decisions at the regulatory body.

Devanadera assured “the ERC will continuously perform its mandate pertaining to the issuance and renewal of GenCos’ COCs in order to ensure that there is ample power supply as we rise above the challenges brought by the pandemic and the destruction wrought by recent typhoons.”