DOE to improve energy sector to attract investments

DOE-Transmission lines

The Department of Energy (DOE) is looking to make the country’s power and energy sector more appealing to investors in cooperation with its attached agencies and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). 

In a report by the Philippine Star, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said that the DOE welcomes the appointment of the new ERC chair as it is a “follow through of the President and his desire to see a level playing field in the energy sector” to attract more investors. 

Just two weeks ago, Atty. Monalisa Carneo Dimalanta was appointed as the new ERC Chairperson. Both Dimalanta and Lotilla had positions with Aboitiz Power Corporation prior to their appointments with the government. 

Lotilla said that ERC plays a crucial role in regulating power markets and prices. Citing Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), Lotilla said that the DOE lays down the rules and regulations to implement the law, while the ERC is one of the agencies in charge of the reinforcement of the provisions of EPIRA. 

During his term as Energy Secretary, Lotilla said that the DOE will recognize the independence of the ERC in setting power rates, adding that the regulator has a full understanding of the factors needed to be accounted for to ensure a steady stream of investments. 

Lotilla stressed that arbitrary rate setting can compromise the entry of new investments into the country. 

DOE is also seeking to ensure that the policy environment for investing in the upstream sector is certain, stable, and clear. Lotilla said that the DOE has met with the legal cluster to ensure this matter. 

A stable regulatory framework for the downstream natural gas industry is also being sought.