THE Department of Energy (DoE) said it continues to consult on a proposal to require Luzon distribution utilities to source an as-yet undetermined percentage of their power needs from gas-fired power plants.

“It’s just still a proposal… the team that is working on that is looking at the legal basis,” Energy Assistant Secretary Mylene C. Capongcol told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of an energy forum last week.

“There will be consultation and further study. (The goal is to ensure) that the energy supply is adequate, reliable, and sustainable,” she added.

Advocacy groups have claimed that the setting of a quota for power derived from gas bypasses the competitive selection process for power-supply agreements and will undermine the transition to renewable energy (RE).

“This department circular is unlawful because the DoE has no power to do what it wants to do in the circular. Its bias for gas also violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution,” Gerry C. Arances, convenor of Power for People Coalition, said in a Viber message.

Asked if a percentage has been set for power generated from gas, Ms. Capongcol said a working group is still conducting studies on the matter.

“There are no details yet… just to clarify, it is still under study. The review of the proposed policy is ongoing,” she added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Capongcol said that the DoE plans to release a notice of auction by November and conduct the actual bidding early next year for the third Green Energy Auction (GEA).

In July, the DoE announced that GEA-2 resulted in bids for 3,440 megawatts (MW) of RE capacity, well below the target of 11,600 MW. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera