MANILA — The Department of Energy is adjusting its work hours and limiting air-conditioner temperature settings to reduce power demand, a Cabinet member said on Tuesday.
DOE work hours will be from 7 am to 4 pm, and they will be allowed to work from home every Friday, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a Palace press briefing.
“Daylight saving time. Sasabayan niya yung sunrise, so mas maaga siya,” Diokno said, noting that the program is part of the country’s efforts to try to reduce the demand for power.
Airconditioners in DOE facilities will also be placed at 25-degrees Celsius only, as a study shows that a large amount of energy can be saved if the setting is steady at this temperature, he said.
“Kapag nag-succeeed ‘yung experiment ng DOE, baka gayahin ng ibang agencies,” Diokno said.
When asked how much the government expects to save from the adjusted work week and new office hours, the DOF chief said: “I’m sure it is going to be substantial kasi we did this before when we had an energy crisis.”
“Mas maganda nga na maaga pasok mo. Hindi matraffic,” he added.
The government "cannot mandate the office hours" for private companies so it would not affect the private sector, he said.
The DOE’s “experiment” was launched as high power rates continue to be one of the criticisms against investing in the Philippines, Diokno said.
“Napakaimportante na i-address din natin yung energy. Ang isang complaint kasi sa Pilipinas ay napakamahal ng energy cost,” he said.
“We cannot do anything about the supply but we can do something about the demand side,” he said.
In 2019, Philippine energy prices were deemed to be the most expensive in Southeast Asia “at roughly US$0.20 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) or Php 10 per kWh,” according to a report from think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.