Ducut to detractors: ‘Don’t muddle the truth’

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Monday, January 27, 2014

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Kapampangan Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chairperson Zenaida Ducut hit back at her detractors over the weekend and told them to stop “muddling the truth and resorting to dirty tactics” in attempts to oust her from her post.

Ducut’s statement came after Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Barry Gutierrez filed a verified administrative complaint of “gross neglect of duty and incompetence by tacitly approving without the barest hint of due process Meralco’s unprecedented power rate hike” against Ducut.

Akbayan is reportedly an ally of President Benigno Aquino III, while Ducut is a former Pampanga congresswoman appointed as ERC chair by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2008. Her term will end on 2015.


"Some sectors, in their vile attempt to muddle the truth regarding the Meralco price hike issue, have resorted to dirty tactics that are designed to enrage the public consumers at large and subject me to public ridicule and opinion," Ducut said in a statement to Sun.Star Pampanga.

She further claimed that what the ERC approved on December 9, 2013 was the clearance sought by Meralco to stagger the collection of its generation cost for the November 2013 supply month and not the P4.15 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate increase of the power company.

Ducut insisted that there was no irregularity in approving the clearance sought for the staggered generation cost-recovery of Meralco because the decision was made only with the end view of cushioning the impact on electricity for consumers. Under the AGRA rules, she said, Meralco and all other distribution utilities can “motu proprio” calculate their monthly generation charges based on a prescribed formula. This enables them to immediately recover their allowable generation costs without incurring any carrying costs that are also passed on to the consumers.

“While I speak for the entire ERC as its chairperson, our decisions are ‘collegial’ in nature and are based on law and regulations and not on my sole discretion, as some detractors would like the public to believe,” Ducut stressed, adding the investigating unit of the commission is still completing its probe on the alleged collusion among power generators.

"People have to understand that the task relegated to us is very complex as it is data intensive. There are thousands of hours of trading intervals and price offers that need to be examined by the ERC-IU members," she explained.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the Palace will not force Ducut to submit her resignation and vacate her post at the ERC.

“The President will respect the decision of ERC chairperson Zenaida Ducut not to submit a voluntary resignation and submit herself to due process. Katulad ng sinabi ni Secretary Sonny Coloma noong isang araw, there’s a due process to be followed doon sa isinampang kaso laban kay chairman Ducut and that due process has to be followed. But in the meantime, the decision to resign is entirely up to chairman Ducut,” Valte said. (Kristine Venet Q. Andal)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 28, 2014.

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