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DOE stand on LNG ‘insensitive and ineffective’, says advocates

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The Power for People Coalition (P4P) on Tuesday slammed remarks of Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla, made during an interview with Karmina Constantino in Dateline 24/7’s Monday episode, saying that LNG prices are high, but importing it will stabilize power supply for the country.

Lotilla said that LNG will wean the country away from heavily polluting coal and improve energy security, at the cost of higher prices for Filipino consumers.

“President Marcos promised to improve the purchasing power of Filipinos to uplift their quality of life, and Secretary Lotilla decided to run in the opposite direction. Why was gas picked as the fuel to sustain our energy sector when they know, as he admits now, that it is expensive and would have to be imported? How can the Philippines have energy security when the DOE secretary himself is reduced to hoping supplies of gas will ease and then basing our energy plan on those hopes? It is insensitive to the plight of Filipinos and ineffective in stabilizing supply,” said Gerry Arances, P4P Convenor.

Arances said that it was clear from the early days of the Marcos administration that the push for LNG is wrong.

“In his first State of the Nation Address, President Marcos said he wants renewable energy, but we need to use gas as a bridge. The spike in electricity prices in the first year of his administration was caused by the volatility of gas and fossil fuel prices globally, yet he continues to push for a law that will bring in more dependence on gas. There is no need for LNG as a bridge fuel because renewable energy can be tapped right now to take up the slack if we bring coal and gas plants offline,” said Arances.

The energy consumer advocate also said that if energy security is the goal, it will make more sense to switch to renewable energy with the Malampaya fields drying up.

“What does energy security mean for Secretary Lotilla? Because for consumers, it means freedom from dependence on imports, freedom from high prices, and freedom from pollution. Various forms of renewable energy are available. All the DOE needs to do is to give more priority to ramp up their use in the grid. Do not make decisions that involve the consumers just having to grin and bear high prices. They have better things to spend their money on. It’s time for DOE to make a u-turn, abandon its LNG plans, and embrace renewable energy. That option reduces pollution, improves energy security, and brings down prices for consumers – goals the DOE should have,” said Arances.

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