By Angelica Y. Yang, Reporter
COMPANY officials in the energy sector are hoping that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will work on addressing the country’s tight power supply situation in his last year in office after recent rotating “brownouts” in portions of Luzon.
Three executives of listed energy companies marked this as an item in their “wish lists” for the country’s top official who will be delivering his sixth and final State of the Nation Address on July 26.
“We are looking forward to the implementation of solutions and improvements brought up in the recent hearings related to our current power situation,” Aboitiz Power Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Emmanuel V. Rubio told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.
“The sooner we are able to resolve the issues at hand, the better for our country’s energy development and most importantly, for our consumers,” he added.
AC Energy Corp. President and CEO Eric T. Francia also said that the Duterte administration should look at solving the tight supply situation before the 2022 national elections.
“It’s really [about] putting some structural sustainable solutions to address the tight supply-demand situation, and to start looking ahead. It’s the ability to start looking ahead, three, four, five years down the road to address any impending shortage,” he said in a phone interview.
Mr. Francia noted that the Philippines is facing a rebound in electricity demand amid the pandemic, delays in adding supply, and issues surrounding plant reliability.
For him, this requires a “fresh look” at the situation and a push in certain policies.
Meanwhile, DMCI Holdings, Inc. Chairman and President Isidro A. Consunji said that grid connectivity and flexibility should be one of the Duterte administration’s focus areas.
“This will stabilize our power supply and at the same time lower missionary electrification subsidies,” he told BusinessWorld via e-mail.
‘CONTINUE RENEWABLES PUSH’
AC Energy’s Mr. Francia hopes the Duterte government will follow through with its policies promoting renewable energy and sustainability.
“The government has pushed certain policies that were in place already for renewables, particularly through the renewable portfolio standards (RPS). I think what’s still missing there is the adjustment of the annual increment of the RPS law from what it is today, which is 1%,” he said.
The RPS mandates distribution utilities to source an agreed portion of their supply from eligible RE facilities. The industry estimates that the RPS increment must be increased to at least 2.5%.
Mr. Francia added that the administration should look at lowering the 100-kilowatt (kW) threshold of the green energy option program (GEOP), and hold its green energy auction program (GEAP) before the handover next year.
The GEOP is a voluntary policy mechanism that allows consumers with at least 100 kW of usage to source their supply from a retail energy supplier, while the GEAP allows eligible renewable energy developers to supply a portion of the electricity generated by their facilities to qualified customers.
DMCI Holdings’ Mr. Consunji said that the Duterte administration should also look at ensuring full rural electrification across all major islands, given the 93% and 80% coverage rates in Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.
“Electrification efforts need to be doubled to offset the delays caused by the pandemic and attain 100% coverage by 2022,” he said.