Independent director nominations swamp WESM governing body

By Myrna M. Velasco – May 22, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

At least 20 professionals and energy sector executives have been on the official roll of nominees in the fiercely contested independent board directorship for the governing body of the country’s Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

But of the 20 nominees, only four will make it to the final cut for the PEM Board, which shall continue its oversight and governance function for the WESM amid transformative shift into finally having an independent market operator.

According to documents, the candidates for Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEM) Board have been topbilled by the four members of the transition committee, a former chairman of the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB), other former energy officials and people from the academe.

The four PEMC transition committee members who made it to the independent board nominations have been: Oscar E. Ala who is currently the sitting president of the WESM market operator; Jose Mari T. Bigornia; Francis Saturnino C. Juan and Rauf A. Tan.

Former NREB Chairman Pete H. Maniego Jr. also secured a place in the most-coveted nominations list; so as with former National Transmission Corporation President Alan T. Ortiz; who also served previously as chief executive of the energy investment arm of San Miguel Corporation.

The other nominees have been: Crispiniano G. Acosta, Carmelo R. Alcala, Jesus L. Arranza, Dante M. Briones, Clarita R. Carlos, Efren S. Cruz, Emmanuel S. De Dios, Yvonne De Leon-Ouano. Mario T. Gayao, Jose Vicente E. Jimenez. Emmanuel G.  Lacson, Francis C. Mapile, Jose Tomas C. Syquia and Peter L. Wallace.

The PEM Board noted that the contenders will have to go through “verification process if they meet all the qualifications and have none of the disqualifications for independent directors as set out in the WESM Rules.”

Additionally, nominees for the various segments of the industry have been integrated on the final roll – including that of the generation sector which already had its voting last month. The PEM Board will have 15 members coming from various segments of the power sector.

For the distribution sector, PEM Board contenders are Rolando M. Cagampan of the Manila Electric Company; Gilbert A. Pagobo of Mactan Electric Company, Inc.; Felino Herbert P. Agdigos of the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative; and Allan L. Laniba of the Leyte Electric Cooperative III.

In the supply sector, in the roll is Noel V. Aboboto of TeaM Philippines Energy Corporation; while in the transmission segment, the contender is lawyer Ronald Dylan Concepcion of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

Under the IMO Transition Plan, “the chairman of the PEM Board is to be elected from among the independent members by the majority of the Board Members,” and that “the first chairman of the PEM Board, shall be the Department of Energy Secretary.”

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has indicated that he is looking forward to concluding this process by end-June, “so I can already step down as chairman of the PEM Board.”

At the full privatization of the power spot market’s operating entity, the role of government will just already be confined to apprehending and penalizing market breaches and abuses; as well as guiding the industry on WESM rule changes.