The Ateneo School of Government (ASOG) through the Access to Sustainable Energy Programme-Clean Energy Living Laboratories (ASEP CELLs) and with the generous support from the European Union held its first Energy Policy Series. A total of 182 participants from the public and private sector attended the webinar last 27 August 2020.

The Energy Policy Series is a virtual forum that aims to provide platform for discourse on pressing energy issues among key stakeholders in the energy sector. It is envisioned to feature various research work produced by ASEP CELLs’ research fellows in the areas of energy access, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

For the first salvo of the Energy Policy Series, ASEP CELLs presented its recently published working paper entitled, “Politico-Economic Determinants of Electric Cooperatives’ Performance: Do political variables affect the quality of service?”.

The paper was presented by the authors of the paper, namely senior fellow, Dr. Laarni Escresa, and research assistant, Mr. Adrian Glova. Dr. Escresa discussed the main findings of the paper, while Mr. Glova gave a detailed discussion on the methodological approach and emphasized the key policy recommendations of the study. After their presentation, Dr. Escresa and Mr. Glova were joined by two other panelists, Atty. Vicar Lofranco from the National Electrification Administration, and Professor Majah Ravago from the Department of Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Atty. Lofranco provided an industry perspective that examined the main precepts of the paper and the feasibility of the suggested policy recommendations. Atty. Lofranco contended that aside from the ‘political variables’ that were emphasized in the paper, she noted the veracity of existing legal frameworks that safeguard the quality of Electric Cooperatives in the Philippines.

Shortly after, Dr. Escresa responded to Atty. Vicar’s observations, emphasizing that the paper recognizes the de jure legal frameworks already in place, but it also aims to investigate the influence of ‘de facto rules’ which emanates from the prevalence of transactional politics and political dynasties that shape the dynamics of Electric Cooperatives in various parts of the country.

The open forum was facilitated by Professor Ravago. In the plenary session, thematic questions from the audience encompassed various issues such as electricity system’s loss, datasets used for the study, prospects of privatizing Electric Cooperatives, and the tangible influence of politicians in appointing board members of the Electric Cooperatives.

To encourage discussion and exchange of ideas even after the webinar, ASEP CELLs uploaded a Policy brief on its website and Facebook page that highlights the key findings of the paper. The full recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

Access to Sustainable Energy Programme-Clean Energy Living Laboratories (ASEP-CELLs) is a project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) in partnership with Manila Observatory (MO), ICLEI-SEAS, Xavier University (XU), and the University of San Carlos (USC). The project supports the Department of Energy and European Union in promoting greater energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency towards sustainable development.