Cusi prepares ‘work plan’ for DOE successor

The team of outgoing Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi is preparing a "comprehensive plan" and "to-do-list" that it will be passing on to the upcoming energy officials of the administration of presumptive President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In a briefing with reporters, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella indicated that the core policy to be forwarded to the next administration will be the ‘energy transition’ agenda that had been cast under the updated Philippine Energy Plan of the Duterte regime – and that primarily calls for accelerated investments on renewable energy (RE), other clean energy sources as well as enforcement of innovations in technology deployments in projects.

“What we are preparing for is a comprehensive report by Secretary Cusi to his successor. We have been collating what the concerns are from the bureaus – and we’re coming up with comprehensive plan,” he said.

The departing energy officials will also be imparting the initiated polices on proposed nuclear power development; the on-and-off plan to set up oil stockpiling or strategic petroleum reserve; the need to accelerate oil and gas exploration ventures; as well as addressing recurring tight supply predicaments that may overwhelm the new leadership at the Department of Energy (DOE) upon taking the helm.

“As far as the energy sector is concerned, there are really pressing issues that we have to attend to – including what is happening in the international community, the strengthening and the resiliency of the country as far as the development of indigenous and clean sources, that shall be continuous,” the energy official stressed.

When asked on the warranted qualifications of the next Energy Secretary, Fuentebella asserted

“we will leave it to the wisdom of the incoming President whom to appoint.” As of this writing, talks are rife that Congressman Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo will likely secure the DOE Cabinet post.

And while most of the major energy stakeholders are projecting a ‘highly probable power supply crisis’ that the next administration will have to hurdle, the DOE opts to present that scenario as part of the ‘energy transition’ pathway that the country will have to overcome.

Fuentebella noted the proposal to the next administration “has not been finalized yet -- how we’ll propose it, but the key word that is being used is ‘energy transition’ – we are undergoing an energy transition already; that is why we have a big push for other technologies, not only for nuclear but also a big push for renewables because at the end of the day, it’s the indigenous and clean sources that we really have to focus on because we are undergoing international issues and challenges that affect our country.”

During his campaign, the team of the presumptive President has sounded off his wish to resurrect the country’s nuclear power ambition – and he will be taking his cue from the development terrain of the idled 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) that was installed under the administration of his father.

Relative to surging oil prices in the world market, Marcos also hinted plans of reviving the defunct Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF) so this could cover subsidies for oil prices via funding that shall be injected from State coffers.

On the security of power supply, Fuentebella stated that part of their proposal will be for the new DOE leadership to monitor the compliance of distribution utilities (DUs) on adhering to their contracted volumes under the power supply agreements; sourcing of mandated capacities from RE generation; and for system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to conform to the mandated procurements of ancillary services or reserves needed in the reliable operations of the power system.