EPIRA info drive draws 200 students

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UP Los Banos campus. (Sally Medrano)

The Department of Energy (DoE) held the first leg of its information, education and communication (IEC) campaigns for the year featuring Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) Thursday (7 February) at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

The DoE-Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) and the DoE-Consumer Welfare Promotion Office jointly led the IEC series in collaboration with the UPLB College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology.

DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said, “The energy industry, particularly the power sector, is highly technical. Therefore, we need to equip our future energy professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills that would allow them to keep up with developments and innovate further.”

DOE-EPIMB Assistant Director Irma C. Exconde and Ms. Luningning G. Baltazar, chief of the EPIMB-Power Market Development Division, led the discussions on the overview of the Philippine power sector, which included an orientation on sectoral reforms, power systems, government plans and programs, components of electricity charges, the wholesale electricity spot market, retail competition and open access, as well as the magna carta for residential consumers. On the other hand, representatives from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) presented ERC’s mandates and the components of unbundled electricity rates.

The program was followed by an open forum, wherein the discourse revolved around the benefits of EPIRA, the government’s Total Electrification Program, strategies to lower generation costs, maximizing renewable energy sources, consumer protection, and the impact of electricity prices on the costs of goods and services.

More than 200 students attended the IEC, with succeeding campaigns to take place in other Philippine universities and colleges in the coming months.

“This is also a good opportunity for the DoE to build stronger partnerships with the academe on economic and energy development,” Cusi said.

p: wjg

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