Monsada wants policy continuity

by Myrna Velasco, 05 July 2015
from Manila Bulletin

Stakeholders in the power industry shall expect “more of the same” at the Department of Energy (DOE), as newly-named officer-in-charge Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada has sounded off that “she will just continue all the programs and policies already laid down” by her predecessor.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla formally left the department’s helm last week after Malacañang finally made an announcement on his replacement. Petilla is planning to run in next year’s senatorial race.

Zenaida Y. Monsada

While at this transition phase, the energy sector will coincidentally be dominated by women heading the different agencies.

Aside from Monsada, the lady-energy managers include Philippine Electricity Market Corporation president Melinda L. Ocampo, National Electrification Administration chief Edita S. Bueno, National Power Corporation president Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation officer-in-charge Lourdes S. Alzona.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is also perceived as a tough contest between two female lawyers: Commissioners Josefina Patricia M. Asirit and Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc.

Meanwhile, Monsada noted that the policy priority will be harmonizing the rules that shall be set by the ERC for the scheduled mandatory enforcement of retail competition and open access (RCOA) in the restructured electricity sector.

She emphasized that the ERC-crafted rules must be aligned with the aggregated supply auctioning policy being pushed by the energy department.

Monsada said both agencies will sit down and discuss how they can harmonize the rules and consult with the affected stakeholders on the portended outcomes.

The other policy focus of the DOE on the 11-month remainder of the Aquino administration is to continually ramp up the development and installation of renewable energy (RE) facilities into the country’s power system.

Monsada has emphasized that they will also resolve the ‘lingering transmission congestion problem’ that has been hobbling the capacity injection of the feed-in-tariff supported wind plants in Northern Luzon.

The next phases of developments in the RE sector will be the award of incentives to the next wave of solar projects that will qualify for FIT – as set on the prescribed cut-off period of March, 2016.

For the remaining RE projects in the wind segment, the FIT filing for the expanded coverage of facilities to be incentivized has already been done with the industry regulator.

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