Monday, August 7, 2017

Cusi revives audit plan on power facilities

Published August 6, 2017, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco

A comprehensive audit on the country’s power facilities had been the agenda set out by the Department of Energy (DOE) on day one of the Duterte administration, but since no outcome had been presented publicly on that, plans are being revived by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi.
As a preliminary step, the energy department had its three-day workshop to apprise stakeholders on how it shall carry out “performance assessment and audit of the entire power supply chain.”
Notably, the audit framework issued by the DOE last year had drawn some criticisms – because it reportedly delved even on “inconsequential items” such as the salary of engineers working at the power plants and the number of expatriate personnel in power generation companies.
It raised questions among industry stakeholders if the department was really that serious or even knowledgeable and had the technical expertise in the operational audit of power plants – or some officials and third party-engaged audit team might just be aiming at employment prospects in power companies.
This time, Cusi is sounding off that the department will take on “comprehensive performance assessment and audit on the power generation, transmission and distribution system and facilities.”
The end goal, he said, would be to draw “a better picture of the real state of the Philippine electricity industry.”
When the audit plan was first targeted, it was intended to help end the recurrent strike of supply tightening in the system; but with “overcapacity” now as the sector’s “new normal,” the prudent goal could be fixed on how capacity additions and facility upgrades or expansions could then be planned accordingly.
“Our objective is to have a solid foundation towards data-driven planning and decision-making,” the Energy chief stressed.
This time, the department would finally need to show determination on this audit drive, or it will ultimately be losing credibility on the call for such initiatives.
During the workshop session led by Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, the participants had been oriented on the scope, parameters, processes, responsibilities and timelines on the conduct of the proposed audit.
Such had been contained in the draft guidelines made public by the DOE, but still subject to final inputs by relevant industry stakeholders.
“Once finished, the proposed guidelines will undergo focus group discussions with the electric power industry participants,” the energy department said.
It must be culled that in the first audit plan, it could have been completed over six months or as early as December last year or early part of 2017.

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