ERC Shifts to Legal e-Processes and Virtual Hearings
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) recently issued a Resolution for the Transitory Implementation of Legal e-Processes Pending the Adoption of the Interim Guidelines Governing the Electronic Application, Filings, and Virtual Hearings Before the Energy Regulatory Commission that signals its shift to electronic means of accepting and serving documents. The subject Resolution supplements the ERC’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, particularly in the conduct of its pre-filing conference and public hearings.“The Resolution is the ERC’s mechanism to adapt to the ‘New Normal’ which requires performing our tasks remotely and virtually in order to ensure the safety of all electric power stakeholders, as well as our frontliners and employees”
, ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera stated.
Under the subject Resolution, the pre-filing process shall be done through electronic means for all rate applications/petitions or other applications for relief that directly affect the electricity consumers. Similarly, the filing through electronic means of a motion, petition, compliance, manifestation, submission, or any other pleading relative to a case pending before the ERC shall be observed.
In the same light, the ERC shall also provide service through electronic means by way of sending the application/petition, pleading/s, motion/s, and other documents via e-mail to the e-mail address/es of the person/s to be served.
The ERC Resolution also indicated that hearings before the ERC shall be conducted through videoconferencing or Virtual Hearings. The virtual hearing shall be convened and conducted by the Commission using the Microsoft Teams or Zoom applications or such other secure platforms as it deems appropriate. “We should embrace and adapt to the ‘new normal’ and we urge the concerned electric power stakeholders’ cooperation and support the Transitory Implementation of Legal e-Processes to ensure the continued performance of our mandate. The legal e-processes provides for a contactless transaction that ensures the safety of all stakeholders and our employees, as well, in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic”
, ERC Chair Devanadera added.