WESM starts independent operations
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) yesterday commenced independent operations under the independent market operator (IMO), nearly two decades after the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) mandated its transition to an IMO.

“Today, marks the first day they are totally independent from DOE (Department of Energy),” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said during the E-Power Mo Conference yesterday.

Cusi relinquished his chairmanship in the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) during its annual general membership meeting Tuesday, calling it an important step in paving the way for independent stakeholders to be elected into the company.

He said the IMO transition plan, designed by the PEMC transition team in August 2017, calls for the formation of a new company called the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) as an independent market operator with PEMC remaining as WESM’s governing body.

During the meeting, PEMC elected 15 board members, including 11 sectoral representatives and four independent directors.

The elected board members were Emmanuel Rubio (SN Aboitiz Power), Victor Emmanuel Santos Jr. (First Gen Corp.), Elenita Go (SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.), Juan Eugenio Roxas (FDC Utilities Inc.), Rolando M. Cagampan (Meralco), Allan Laniba (LEYECO III), Felino Herbert Palpallatoc Agdigos (Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative), Gilbert  Pagobo (Mactan Electric Co. Inc.), Noel Villas Aboboto (Team Energy), Ronald Dylan  Concepcion (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines), and Francis Saturnino Juan (Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines).

Four new independent directors were also elected namely, Raul Tan,  Oscar Ala, Jesus Lim Arranza, and Peter Leslie Wallace.

The election of a new PEM board brings the industry a step closer to the long-delayed transition to the IMO as it affirmed the seven board members appointed by the DOE to spearhead the transition to fully independent WESM operations.

The IMO will be initially headed by Juan, as chairman, president and CEO; Jose Mari Bigornia as COO; Carrol Tang, Johnny Tuason, Jose Rodelio Mangulabnan, Richard Nethercott and Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva as board members.

Cusi said the initial IMO board has varied skills—from legal, finance, engineering and intelligence—which are needed by the market operator.

PEMC was incorporated in 2003 and was constituted as the autonomous group market operator to oversee market governance and perform the functions of the market operator in the WESM, which was created under the EPIRA.

While PEMC and the IMO will be independent from the government, the DOE will maintain oversight of the WESM operations.

“The DOE’s involvement with WESM needs to be close enough for the Department to understand key developments, while keeping enough distance from the market’s daily functions. The Energy Department will remain the ultimate guardian of WESM rules and manuals. Together with the Energy Regulatory Commission, we will protect our consumers against industry breaches and anti-competitive behavior,” Cusi said.

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