Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DOE chief orders TransCo to use fiber optic assets

By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 5, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has ordered the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) to make use of the fiber optic assets of the transmission grid to lower electricity rates as well speed up internet access in the country within one year.
The Department of Energy chief said the availability and readiness of the fiber optic assets on the transmission system could improve the electricity services of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and reduce the cost of electricity and push for the national broadband project.
“At the end of the day, what we would like to achieve is that the consuming public would benefit from all the government deals and activities, thus we are exploring and exhausting all the potentials of the transmission system as a government-owned asset,” Cusi said.
In a briefing, TransCo president Melvin Matibag said using these assets in the National Broadband System can advance the country’s internet access and improve delivery of government services.
 “As experts tell us, with these present facilities, the government will be able to fulfill its promise of free internet to public schools, public sites and government facilities in six months to one year,” he said.
By making use of the power grid in the country’s national broadband plan, it can lower electricity rates by using revenues in renting the power grid’s fiber optics network, Matibag said.
“Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) law, the related businesses of the grid, not more than 50 percent should go to the lowering of electricity cost,” he said.
The DOE oversees TransCo, which is mandated to protect the national government’s interests by ensuring NGCP’s compliance with the terms and conditions of the concession agreement and the policies of the state.
Under EPIRA, the NGCP was awarded the sole concession agreement for the country’s transmission system in 2009.
However, the DOE is letting TransCo take the lead in maximizing the use of the fiber optic network of transmission grid since it is the owner of the assets, DOE assistant secretary Bodie Pulido said in a briefing yesterday.
 “TransCo is acting upon the instructions of the secretary. The mandate of the secretary is how to lower electricity prices… and use the fiber optic network for the national broadband project to lower rates,” he said.
The DOE has requested NGCP to provide the details on how we can take full advantage of their fiber optic assets embedded in the grid.

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