Govt, private sector not ready for an energy crisis

PURE ENERGY The business forum hosted by The Manila Times featured (clockwise from upper left) Manila Times columnist Ben Kritz, WeGen Laudato Si’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charlie Ayco, Green Tiger Markets Chief Executive Officer John Knorring, Philippine Energy Independence Council President Rolando Paulino Jr., Energy Regulatory Commission chief Monalisa Dimalanta and Aboitiz Power chief investment officer Joseph Lacson. SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK LIVE

THE government and the private sector need to work together to head off an energy crisis, the country's chief energy regulator said Thursday.

Guesting at a forum organized by The Manila Times in partnership with Aboitiz Power, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta said the government and private sector are not doing enough to avert such a crisis.

Dimalanta admitted there is not enough collaboration between the two sectors in looking for immediate solutions for high electricity costs and soaring fuel prices. “But, definitely something in the midterm and long term, we are doing everything that we can,” she said.

“We are forced to look for innovative techniques, innovative ways of doing things. Maybe now, energy efficiency is no longer just nice to have. Maybe finally we will realize that it should be part of our energy planning and energy system,” Dimalanta said.

Another forum participant, Aboitiz Chief Investment Officer Joseph Lacson, said the government and private corporations are working hard to address the issue.

“We see from our viewpoint a lot of hard work being put in by good people, to address the needs. We are in talks with the stakeholders, Meralco, and with the government,” Aboitiz said.

Other energy experts provided insights into the prevailing energy situation in the country.

Charlie Ayco, chairman and CEO of WeGen Laudato SI' Inc., believes the technology for achieving energy security is already available, and it is just a matter of how best it would be put to use.

Ayco recommended harnessing solar energy for entire communities, not just individual homes. “Solar is the most affordable [form of energy],” he said.

Rolando Paulino, president of the Philippine Energy Independence Council explored issues related to climate change, energy transition and energy security.

Paulino suggested using solar panels to energize farmlands, “Putting in the solar panels, thinking how to use the land more effectively and efficiently, actually contribute to both the security and affordability of electricity,” he said.

Green Tiger Markets Chief Executive Officer John Knorring identified three areas that need priority in preparing for an energy crisis: affordability, volatility and reliability.

Knorring said the Philippines has the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia, with a kilowatt-hour costing P10.180.

The country will be left far behind by its neighbors if the cost of electricity is not brought down, he said.

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