Incoming energy chief vows continuity at DOE
MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of the new administration, incoming energy secretary Alfonso Cusi vowed to continue the work done by current Department of Energy chief Zenaida Monsada.
Cusi said in a chance interview that he will have "continuity of programs" as his agenda for his first 100 days as DOE secretary.
Cusi did not give details of the programs he would continue but said he would need to take stock of of the situation "from the perspective of a consumer" before planning new programs.
"We’re looking at it from the perspective of the consumer. I am here to lead based on the perspective of the consumer," he said.
Electricity prices in the country are some of the highest in the world. Based on a 2012 study conducted by International Energy Consultants on 44 countries, energy rates charged by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) ranked as the 2nd highest in Asia and 9th in the world.
Meralco also raised its rates earlier this year due to weather disruptions caused by El Niño.
When President-elect Rodrigo Duterte named Cusi as his choice for the DOE in late May, Cusi promised to work towards electrification of the entire country, affordable power supply, and greater energy self-sufficiency.
Cusi started meeting with the separate branches of the energy regulator on June 28, a circuit that will see him hold discussions with the National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (Napocor), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), and the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC).
He also said he would closely assess the people working in the agency before he decides whether or not to replace them.
"Parang basketball team iyan eh. Titignan mo muna baka hindi naman kailangan palitan," Cusi said.
(It's like a basketball team. You have to examine it first because maybe changes don't need to be made.)
"We still need to assess, but no surprises," he said, adding that he will bring a few people with him to the DOE.
Cusi is new to the energy industry but not to public service, having previously led both the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), where he focused on getting the airport to comply with international standards on safety and security.
His time as MIAA general manager also saw some controversy as he was named respondent in a bribery case involving then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, however, dismissed the case for lack of evidence. – Rappler.com