Lawyer Monalisa Dimalanta installed to lead the Philippines' energy regulator

Dimalanta’s appointment comes as the new administration seeks amendments to the country’s electric power industry law to address the cost of electricity, which is among the highest in Southeast Asia.

monalisa dimalanta
Monalisa Dimalanta, an alumna of the University of the Philippines-College of Law, has been serving as legal counsel to various energy companies for decades. Image: Monalisa Dimalanta

Lawyer Monalisa Dimalanta has been named by the Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr as the new head of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the office of the president announced on Friday. 

Dimalanta was the former chairperson of government advisory body National Renewable Energy Board (NREB), which recommends and monitors clean energy programmes in the country. During her term, she helped pave the way for the green energy pricing programme to promote renewable investment. 

Dimalanta’s appointment comes in the aftermath of President Marcos, Jr’s state of the nation address last month when he declared the need for amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), in order to address the country’s soaring electricity costs. The EPIRA law mandates the ERC to promote competition and penalise the abuse of market power in the restructured electricity industry.

Electricity prices in the Philippines are among the highest in Southeast Asia, due to heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels and uncompetitive market structures.

Marcos said he will be pushing for a bill that would restructure the ERC to “foster accountability and improve the commission’s government system that would ensure consumer protection and enhance the competitive operation of the electricity market.” 

Dimalanta returns to government service after more than a year in private legal practice. Prior to the ERC, she served as chief legal counsel and compliance officer of Aboitiz Power Corporation, the country’s second-largest coal developer. 

After her stint with NREB last year, she went back to being a senior partner at the Puyat Jacinto & Santos law firm, where she had been the company’s energy practice lead for two decades. She also teaches energy governance and management at the Ateneo de Manila University Law School.

Dimalanta will be replacing Agnes T. Devanadera, who retired as chairperson of the power industry’s regulatory body on 10 July.

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