DOE builds smart grid coalition

CLARK, Pampanga — The Department of Energy (DOE) is accelerating efforts to synchronize the adoption of smart grid technologies in the country, which kicked off through a forum held in Clark, Pampanga on November 27-29.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, through DOE Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella, stated in his opening remarks: Smart technologies give energy users more power to control energy ‘through their fingertips.’ It is a very dynamic sector, so the DOE will need a broader coalition in moving towards the smart grid era.

For us to guide the consumers, the service providers and the regulators, we should not lose sight of the basic concept that smart grid is simply a tool for the consumers and energy users to be more active and more efficient in the utilization of energy, Fuentebella said.

Fuentebella also emphasized that despite their complexity and technical diversity, the smart grid policy should place the consumers first in driving its design and implementation.

The three-day event enabled the DOE to formulate a road map covering the short-term (2018), medium term ?(2019-2022) and long-term ??(2030-2040) towards achieving the smart grid vision of the Philippines for 2040.

Day 1 of the forum covered the presentation of the smart grid global landscape and best practices. Representatives from the transmission, distribution, and generation sectors shared their on-going smart grid initiatives.

Day 2 organized technical working groups (TWGs) and breakout sessions covering Consumer Empowerment, Power System Operation, Sustainable & Renewable Energy, Standardization, ICT & Cybersecurity, and Regulatory Support. This enabled the DOE to solicit more inputs from the participants.

The output of the TWGs became the bases for the holistic and comprehensive formulation of the Philippine smart grid roadmap, which was presented to the E-Power Mo Conference on Day 3.

Around 150 participants attended the three-day event. It included the DOE officials, technical staff, and high ranking officers and personnel from the stakeholders of the power sector. The USAID B-LEADERS facilitated the exchanges of ideas of the participants.

The Smart Grid Forum is part of the DOE’s E-Power Mo campaign, which educates stakeholders and consumers on their options towards a safer, wiser and more intelligent utilization of resources through the combination of energy and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Source: Philippine News Agency

PET grants Robredo plea to secure copies of ballots

MANILA — The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has granted the plea of Vice President Leni Robredo to secure copies of the ballot images in connection with the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr.

In a three-page resolution dated Nov. 7 but was only released to media this week, the high tribunal granted Robredo’s request to be furnished soft copies of the ballots and reports from the decrypted secure digital (SD) cards from the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, the three pilot provinces designated by Marcos for his election protest.

In her plea, Robredo said the Comelec assured parties during the start of the decryption process on Oct. 23 that it will provide soft copies provided the PET consents.

Thus, it would be for the benefit of the parties that they be allowed to secure the soft copies of the ballot images and other reports from the decrypted secure digital cards to protect their rights and interests in this election protest, the motion stated.

Robredo’s legal counsel, Romulo Macalintal, welcomed the decision of PET, saying it will provide them with additional blanket of security to the votes received by Robredo as they decrypt the contents of the SD cards.

Marcos previously argued that Robredo did not contribute any share in the expenses and supplies, thus she should not be allowed by the PET to obtain the soft and even printed copies of the decrypted images of the ballots, election returns, audit logs and other relevant documents for all the protested clustered precincts of the pilot provinces.

In the same resolution, the PET denied Marcos’ appeal last Aug. 29 seeking to allow the technical examination of voters’ records from three Mindanao provinces.

The high tribunal ruled that ‘no technical examination’ can be conducted on the voters’ signatures in each of the 2,756 clustered precincts in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan, the results of which Marcos wanted to be annulled, until the termination of the recount of ballots from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

The former senator had asked for a technical examination in three Mindanao provinces over the alleged existence of fake voters.

He said the revisors need to examine each and every signature in the voter’s list to ensure that the person who casted his vote was the actual voter.

Robredo opposed Marcos’ motion, saying this will violate the PET rule that only three areas could be designated as pilot provinces for the recount.

With the denial of Marcos’ motion for technical examination, Robredo’s camp said Marcos has to content himself with the results of the recount of ballots from the three pilot provinces that will be the basis of the PET to determine if it will proceed with the protest of Marcos from other provinces or it will dismiss the protest for lack of merit.

We are highly confident that after such recount the PET will have all the valid grounds and reasons to dismiss Marcos’ protest. For in the hundreds of election protest cases filed involving the 2010, 2013 and the 2016 automated elections, not a single election protest has been won by any protestant on the basis of a recount of the ballots, said Macalintal.

Marcos filed the protest on June 29 last year, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May that year.

He sought the annulment of about a million votes cast in three provinces � Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities.

In his preliminary conference briefing, Marcos also sought for a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

Robredo filed her answer in August last year and filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.

She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of PET.

The high tribunal, in a ruling earlier this year, junked Robredo’s plea and proceeded with the case after finding the protest sufficient in form and substance.

Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.

Source: Philippine News Agency