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RE firms want reform of competitive selection

RENEWABLE ENERGY (RE) companies asked Congress to reform the competitive selection process, calling it excessively complex and not always awarding contracts to the lowest-cost producer.

Ruth P. Briones, chairman and chief executive officer of GreenEnergy Solutions, Inc., said at the Future Energy Philippines forum last week that the complexity of the rules is also a factor in high power prices apart from the volatile price of imported fuel. 

“The competitive selection process (CSP) is very complicated, the lowest price is not always the winner,” she added, referring to the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) prescribed method for distribution utilities seeking to procure power.

“Electricity is very (expensive) because the regulatory framework is very complicated, I hope the Congress will look deeper into the structure,” she said.  

Quintin Jose V. Pastrana, president of WEnergy Power Pilipinas Inc., said power in off-grid areas in particular is expensive, and called for scaling up power solutions for remote areas to make electricity more affordable.   

“Our supply sometimes is outstripped by demand. If power doesn’t keep up because regulation is a bit slower or not as fast as the demand, then we’re going to have a demand asymmetry with supply and that is going to raise prices,” Mr. Pastrana said.   

Pedro H. Maniego, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), said separately in an email on Sept. 9 that the Philippines is also alone in the region in not subsidizing electricity prices, as per the rules set out by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), the privatization law that governs the industry.   

“The major challenge is how we can be energy independent by utilizing indigenous resources, so as to minimize the country’s exposure to price fluctuations in the international market,” Mr. Maniego added. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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