Balisacan chides DOE for lack of leadership

by Lenie Lectura – January 13, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) strongly urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to take the lead in coordinating with other industry players in crafting a blueprint that will outline the long-term development plans for the power sector.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balicasan said during the second day of the Energy Policy and Development Program (EPDP) conference the country would enjoy uninterrupted and affordable power supply if all government agencies within the power sector work together.

“If we want to sustain the growth of our economy from last year, then we must all plan very well. There should be a blueprint for the energy industry. The DOE must be on top of this,” Balicasan said.

He noted the lack of coordination among the DOE, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and other agencies in crafting plans and programs for the oil and power sectors.

“The DOE should have an overall development plan and it should let other agencies and other sectors to get involved. You have new power plants, but you don’t have transmission lines. Where is coordination there? There is growth in manufacturing, then DOE projections should also include that, as well, in its plan,” Balisacan pointed out.

The Neda spearheaded the EPDP, which aims to help the government develop policies and strategies that will make cost-effective use of resources; promote sustainable energy development; and make electricity accessible and affordable to Filipinos.

Balisacan said the EPDP is Neda’s own way of crafting an energy policy program to contribute to national policy-making. A workshop was recently convened to review the energy development areas prioritized by the government for evidence-based policy-making.

“[The] EPDP was set up so that we would have a better understanding of the power industry. Every policy should be based on evidence. With enough evidence and data, the level of success of any particular policy is higher than those not based on data,” Balisacan added.

One important issue that continues to hound the power sector is the cost of electricity in the country.

“The cost of energy must fall. If there is more growth expected, then it means we have to put in more power capacity. We want an affordable electricity 24/7,” he said.