By Myrna M. Velasco
A plan to re-integrate the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) and Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) is an option currently being explored for the continued operations of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said he is open to that possibility, but a decision will be firmed up only after the submission of findings of the task force he delegated to review the performance of the independent market operator (IMO) framework for the WESM.
The one-year transition phase for the independent operation of the country’s power spot market will wind up this June, hence, that will also be the timing for the Department of Energy (DOE) to enforce necessary adjustments.
It has been widely talked about among industry stakeholders that one of the plans would be to re-merge IEMOP and PEMC as one entity again, following the experiment on their split since last year.
As envisaged, the IEMOP had been designated the independent market operator of the WESM; while PEMC is the governing body and also has recommendatory powers over necessary market rules modifications and improvements.
It was gathered though that despite the delineation of function of the two entities,– that has not been carried out well in the past several months – at least on DOE’s assumption, hence, it is still tightening its grip on the WESM.
Cusi admitted intervention in the affairs of the spot market, with him arguing that despite the IMO appointment last year, he cannot just totally let go of the government’s oversight function on it.
He noted that he had ordered a review of the IEMOP operations, with him stressing that “I am evaluating it, I am looking at it.”
The IMO transition had been dragged into controversy following the removal of the IEMOP President last month – because it was reportedly instigated by the company’s non-executive board, of whose members are mostly not familiar with the operations of a spot market. And on reported plans of the energy department to re-merge IEMOP and PEMC, Cusi said “all of these things – IEMOP and PEMC – I am trying to see what we really need as an industry.”
He indicated that such had been part of the options, but the energy chief emphasized he does not want to pre-empt the result of review and the recommendations of the task force for now.