PNOC-RC not closing shop – Cusi

Published January 4, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

State-run subsidiary Philippine National Oil Company-Renewables Corporation (PNOC-RC) is not winding down operations and is not ceasing corporate existence, according to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi.


That was his pronouncement despite earlier calls of some lawmakers for the government-owned firm to close shop, with the energy chief noting that there is no mandate laid down by the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG) leading to PNOC-RC’s shutdown.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Photo credit: https://www.doe.gov.ph)


The energy chief nevertheless acknowledged that while PNOC-RC will have to continue operating, it would judiciously need to shift strategy when it comes to the investments it will be pursuing.


PNOC-RC is presently advancing multitudes of projects in solar rooftop installations, but Cusi reckoned this may not be as viable as it can get for a state-owned company – especially on the sphere of competition versus private sector players.


“It’s difficult for it (PNOC-RC) to be competitive in solar – because private sector players could come up with faster decisions and they could also implement projects faster and more aggressively,” Cusi pointed out.


He cited that for example, if a client would ask for a discount, a government-owned firm like PNOC-RC cannot just decide on that immediately because it will need to go through the usual layers of approvals first – whereas, in the case of a private sector player, it can make up its mind on that expeditiously.


“PNOC-RC could have a tough time competing with private companies – not that the private sector is better, but the problem with government is bureaucratic process, that’s why it’s difficult for PNOC-RC to catch up especially on investment decision-making,” he said.


Given such hurdle, Cusi proposed that PNOC-RC must instead re-focus its investment prospects on new technologies – including the realm of research and development (R&D) that could underpin the deployment of emerging energy technologies.


“What’s needed is: it has to look at the new technologies. Perhaps, for it to help on research and development – paving the way for the private investors, that’s the role of government. So would PNOC-RC be able to help? Yes, it can in the development of new technologies and in the creation of a new standard for private operators to follow,” the energy chief emphasized.


Further, in the forthcoming green energy auction for renewable energy under the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) policy, Cusi noted that PNOC-RC might be able to support the program by exploring means how to reduce the cost of RE capacity turning up from that bid process.


“In this green energy auction, PNOC-RC can help the country – they can help a lot if they have certain projects that will really push the private sector to be more competitive and if they could price low to really bring down the rate,” he explained.

 
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