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ERC revises rules of procedure to allow more electronic filing, virtual hearings

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said Friday that it added 12 new sections to its revised rules of practice and procedure (RPP), to allow the electronic filing of pleadings and virtual hearings, in order to facilitate continued operations during the pandemic.

In a statement, the ERC said the revised RPP amends the 2006 edition. It guides stakeholders appearing before the commission and participating in any proceeding before it. The revisions had not been posted to the ERC website at deadline time.

“The RPP responds to the requirements of the ‘New Normal’ setting. The new provisions on electronic filing and virtual hearings allow the ERC to continuously perform its mandate as we can remotely access and act on applications or complaints filed before our office, while protecting the health and safety of electric power stakeholders and that of our employees,” ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera said.

The updated RPP also sets out rules on prohibited pleadings, the cancellation of the notice of hearing due to force majeure; and public consultations, among others.

The ERC had posted a draft of the new rules last year, which went the rounds of public consultations.

In the statement, the ERC said that the new RPP complements two previous resolutions. One involves the implementation of legal e-processes while the other sets guidelines on electronic applications and virtual hearings.

Three weeks ago, the ERC said that the number of cases concluded last year rose 21%, aided by the adoption of videoconferencing for its hearings. It said that it was able to resolve 748 cases in 2020, compared to 617 in 2019. — Angelica Y. Yang

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