High power rates, logistics issues hinder investments from Japanese firms


High energy costs in the country are making Japanese firms reluctant to go ahead with their power investments in the country, Department of Energy (D0E) Chief Alfonso Cusi said yesterday.

Preliminary environment scan by the Japanese firms found issues in the country’s high power costs and logistics.

“They raised two major issues, which is logistics—moving goods and power supply cost,” he said.

“We’re going to work with PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority), DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), DOF (Department of Finance) on how we can package it together so we can bring them to the Philippines,” Cusi said.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s three-day visit to Japan, Cusi said three Japanese firms Osaka Gas, JFE Engineering, and Yazaki-Torres have expressed interest in investing in the Philippines.

Osaka Gas is looking into liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Luzon and Mindanao; JFE Engineering has proposed a $373.25 million biomass project. Yazaki-Torres is in manufacturing power systems.

“We’ve discussed with JFE about a waste-to-energy project. We also talked about LNG, and the one that expressed interest in that is Osaka Gas. We talked also of the possibility of putting up copper wire manufacturing in the Philippines,” Cusi said.

High electricity costs

The 2016 International Energy Consultants (IEC) report revealed the Manila Electric Co.’s electricity rates as the third highest in Asia, fourth in Asia Pacific, and 16th worldwide.

However, IEC noted that neighboring countries subsidize their power rates, which make their tariffs lower.

“We need to be more competitive so we can bring in these manufacturers to the Philippines,” the DOE chief said. “That one, I’m really going to find a way because that is employment for the FIlipino people.”