Solon seeks creation of independent energy watchdog

MANILA Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to institutionalize an independent consumer representation in the energy sector with the creation of an Energy Consumer Advocate Office (ECAO).

In a statement Friday, Gatchalian said Senate Bill No. 2222 proposes a new office which will represent consumers in all rate-setting, rule-making, and other energy related cases and proceedings before government agencies, including judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, said an independent energy watchdog is necessary to ensure consumer protection and enhance the competitive operation of the electricity industry.

"The state must recognize the right of energy consumers to reasonable rates, adequate and reliable services, and transparent processes involving these rates and services," Gatchalian said.

"Towards this end, there is a need for institutionalized and independent consumer representation in energy-related cases and proceedings before government agencies," he added.

Under the bill, the ECAO is tasked with representing consumers in energy sector matters affecting the public interest before any department, commission, agency, or court.

Headed by the Energy Consumer Advocate, the ECAO shall be an independent and autonomous office attached to the Department of Justice. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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