DOE sets ‘collaborative approach’ on industry-wide disaster response

By Myrna M. Velasco – January 24, 2017, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) is building a platform for coordinated and aligned industry-wide response to disasters and emergency situations as well as calamity risk reduction strategies, particularly if it entails damage or assault to energy facilities.

Preliminary step pursued by the department on this sphere had been the workshop that included participants across industry segments. Joining this activity, aside from those from the energy department, included representatives of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco); National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Aboitiz Power Corporation, National Power Corporation and National Electrification Administration.

Fundamentally, the DOE shared its “disaster response systems and protocols” to the industry stakeholders; and had also gotten inputs from them on their respective response-mechanisms to damaging calamities and other forms of cataclysms.

Collaboration in responding to disasters, primarily in restoration of service either on power supply or other energy infrastructures, had already been part of the sector’s unwritten rules.

Nevertheless, the DOE still intends to fortify its processes and “response mechanisms” and harmonize such with the industry’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) and crisis management strategies.

By integrating all of these factors, the department noted that it would be reinforcing its policy toolbox and protocols on disaster risk reduction.

“All industry participants must be attuned to the existing nationwide disaster-response system of the energy sector,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has noted.

In the recurrent strike of natural disasters, with the Philippines appearing to be a “one-stop shop” for powerful typhoons, the integrity of its energy infrastructures as well as the speed of facilities’ rehabilitation and restoration of service have always been thrown into the spotlight – often putting the energy officials and industry stakeholders on the defensive when public expectations are not met.

And with the risks posed by climactic changes, dilemmas from extreme weather swings are just expected to worsen – and “resiliency of energy facilities” is turning up to be an even more serious challenge for many countries in the world.

Cusi told an audience of the recently concluded Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in the United Arab Emirates that  “the DOE will make sure that the Philippines is prepared to showcase its own workable and effective energy model before the Asian community.”

He thus committed that his department will continually “update its system of protocols, advance notifications and quick-response strategies to fit the country’s requirements.”