Former Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido “Bodie” Pulido III has been formally elected as president of the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), the governance body of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.
He is taking over the post from Atty Oscar Ala, who previously served as a regulator of the power sector and a renowned industry expert, and who bowed out from the PEMC presidency this month for his retirement.
Pulido is known in the power sector as the ‘preferred bet’ of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi to take over PEMC’s helm, despite claims that the WESM or its governing entity PEMC is now independent from government’s subjugation.
At the DOE, Pulido was the supervising Assistant Secretary for the oil and gas sector under the Duterte administration – and he was instrumental in helping frame policies for the emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) sub-segment of the industry.
He was also the energy official who helped advance the implementation of the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP), which entices fresh round of investments for oil and gas exploration ventures in the country – although the current DOE leadership had not gained much success on this sphere, as not a single petroleum well was drilled yet under the outgoing administration.
And in defending the acquisition of Uy-led Udenna Corporation of the initial 45-percent stake previously held by Chevron in the Malampaya gas field venture, Pulido was the DOE official who infamously sounded off to the lawmakers that the sale has a ‘voidable contract’ – but only for the deal to be stealthily approved by the DOE later on, amid some questions still being raised about the divestment process.
In a statement to the media, PEMC noted that Pulido “is not new to the industry having served as an Assistant Secretary of the DOE,” and that he brings with him experience from the works he had done at the department.
He considers electric vehicles as his passion even prior to his stint at the energy department, and this has been part of his advocacy aimed at “mitigating climate change for the creation of environmental sustainability.”
Pulido’s election as President of the WESM’s governing entity was via the PEM
Board, whose representation are from various sub-sectors of the power industry – including those from generation; private and public distribution segments; supply; transmission; and then the WESM market operator or the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP).
In his task as PEMC president, Pulido will be assisted by power industry newcomer Atty Elvin Hayes Nidea, who will serve as chief governance officer.
Pulido asserted “the role is daunting, but I am confident that with the support of the PEM Board, the PEMC officers and the wealth of experience and knowledge of the men and women that make up PEMC, I will be able to perform my duties as PEMC president.”
An independent market operator was spun off from PEMC in 2018; and the main goal of that exercise then was to free up the spot market from government intervention. But as many industry sources have been indicating, ‘independence’ never really happened for the spot market as the DOE had instead deepened its sway and control when it comes to many facets of its operations.