It may come across as a seemingly impossible mission, but the Department of Energy (DOE) continues to push for the creation of a multi-sectoral task force that shall “study ways to reduce the price of electricity in the country.”
Under Department Order No. DO 2014-05-0009, signed and issued recently by Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, a representative from the academe will act as chairperson of the proposed study task force; and will be assisted by representatives from government, business sector, consumer and labor groups as members.
Although the functions of the task force have been listed in the Order, realistically, the dilemmas of rising electricity rates is not one that is easily solved, with even government failing to secure a reliable power supply for the country.
Petilla has mandated the task force to: “evaluate current breakdown/components of electricity and identify factors affecting them; conduct multi-sectoral public consultations nationwide to present their findings and identify ways and measures to help reduce the price of electricity and ensuring its efficiency,” among others.
The study and report of the task force will be given to the energy department, upon completion. The DOE’s Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (EPPB) and Electric Power Industry Management Bureau shall, for their part, provide the task force with technical support; a potential challenge, as the EPPB is already stretched thin, resource-wise.
Furthermore, there are those who feel that the appointment of an academe representative to the task force may render the study an “exercise in futility” due to lack of expertise in the field.
According to some critics, past attempts by major universities to pursue studies delving into the factors contributing to rising electricity rates in the Philippines have resulted in outcomes that are far-removed from the sensible application and analysis of acceptable economic regulation methods.