DOE to review PH energy plan

Published August 16, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Given the economic recession-induced downturn in electricity usage that practically decimated power supply-demand outlook and forecasts, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will re-calibrate the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) so it can apprise investors of the next round of projects where they could funnel their capital in the coming years.

Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said consultations and information gathering for inputs into the updating of the PEP has been targeted to start by the third week of this month.
“We will be holding a lot of activities this August – especially on the wealth creation portion (of the PEP) which involves upstream and some of the downstream investments,” he said.
The DOE official emphasized the energy planning milieu shall consider targeted oil and gas exploration or the petroleum contracting round of the government as well as the development of other indigenous energy resources; then the next round of needed power plant investments including the renewable energy (RE) facilities to be ushered in by the implementation of the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) policy next year.
The department’s planning toolbox will also flesh out opportunities for energy efficiency initiatives and projects given the heightened interest being showed by investors in this area.
The PEP will likewise re-frame the network expansion as well as the scale of investments that transmission firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and the distribution utilities/electric cooperatives shall pursue in the short- to medium and long-term ambits.
Fuentebella said the department will have postings that shall inform the relevant stakeholders on the timelines of the energy planning activities.
With the current state of the country’s power supply – which could be considered ‘artificially sufficient’ because of the pandemic’s assault on the economy, the energy department cautioned consumers that available energy resources at this point are not to be taken as “luxury” that may just be utilized recklessly.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi pointed out “while the country may have enough power supply from the recent economic slowdown, household power consumption is expected to increase, with most people staying at home.”
He thus appealed to the Filipino consumers to be “mindful of our power consumption habits in this pandemic time,” noting that by judicious use of energy resources, grievances over skyrocketing electric bills may actually be avoided.
“As the nation battles the economic recession, there is a need to be conscious of our expenditures,” the energy chief stressed.
Cusi noted that based on the energy department’s initial data sleuthing “while industrial and commercial use of electricity had gone down, the number of kilowatt-hours among residential end-users really went up,” hence, that needs to be scrutinized in the country’s updated energy plan.