Former DOST undersecretary named TransCo president

by Myrna M. Velasco

Former undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Dr Rowena Cristina L. Guevara has been designated as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of state-run National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), the entity that also serves as fund administrator of the feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives to renewable energy (RE) developers.

In a media announcement, TransCo said the appointment of Guevara as its president and CEO was approved by its board on Friday, Sept. 23.

Guevara, an engineer by profession and a graduate of the University of the Philippines, emerged as the first female official to occupy TransCo’s top post since this entity was spun off from the National Power Corporation two decades ago.

During her stint at the DOST in the Duterte administration, Guevara was undersecretary for research and development. She also served as executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD). Prior to that, Guevara was dean of the UP-College of Engineering.

TransCo is the entity-owner of the country’s power transmission assets that had been placed on a 25-year concession deal with private firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) via a privatization exercise in 2009.

This early, it is being closely watched if Guevara will have a more harmonious working relationship with concessionaire-firm NGCP, given that relationship had been a “tension-filled” during the time of her predecessor.

TransCo has an oversight mandate on the country’s power transmission assets and its help is needed by NGCP in right-of-way acquisition for its expansion projects.

A crucial mandate bestowed on TransCo is its administration of the FIT fund for qualified RE developers. This role has been reinforced with the additional RE capacity award under the yearly green energy auction program (GEAP) being administered by the Department of Energy.

The company is also in-charge of filing petitions with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the yearly feed-in-tariff allowance (FIT-All) to be reflected in the electric bills of all Filipino consumers. Collections from the tariff allowance will, in turn, be used to settle the FIT claims of RE project-sponsors.

An intensified role of TransCo is also anticipated in the “energy transition pathway” being proposed by the country’s policymakers as the auction of RE capacity will be increasing in the years ahead in compliance with the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) rule of the Renewable Energy Act.

With the RPS policy in place, it is anticipated that there will be investment influx in the RE sector moving forward, and their entry will be included in the subsidy scheme that TransCo will be collecting via the FIT-All charge passed on to all ratepayers.