ROMUALDEZ BARES ALTERNATIVE TO EMERGENCY POWERS FOR PNOY
• October 26, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
• Published in Top Stories
MORE opposition lawmakers yesterday joined House independent bloc leader and Leyte (1st District) Rep. Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez’s challenge to Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla to work for the rescheduling of Malampaya and other power plants’ maintenance shutdown instead of granting emergency powers to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III which could only result in additional power consumption charges, to the detriment of the consumers. Romualdez was joined by Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz in saying that the DoE should try to work again for the adjustment of the maintenance shutdown of power plants as it did before to avert a shortfall of power reserves in Luzon during the summer months of 2015.
“Why push for emergency powers if we can find solution by adjusting the maintenance shutdown of power plants?” said Romualdez, a lawyer.
Even if the millions or billions of pesos that may arise as a result of contracting power contracts under the emergency powers will be shouldered by Malampaya funds, Romualdez explained “it remains public funds that could be tapped for other needs of the people.”
Romualdez proposed that DoE “should instead put its resources such as Malampaya funds in looking at the long term solution to the expected power crisis in the future by exploring other reliable alternative sources of energy.”
De la Cruz, a member of the bloc said “there is no urgent need to give such powers to PNoy, they can work on the maintenance schedules and the ILP (interruptible load program) to meet the reserve requirements and focus on the long term power requirements based on a solid study and analysis.”
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo “Rodito” T. Albano III urged the DoE to vigorously enlist the support of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), local government units and the private sector in identifying and securing the participation of business establishments which have power generators in the government’s ILP to address the expected power shortage in Luzon in the summer of 2015.
Albano, a member of the House minority bloc of the House committee on energy and former executive director of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), said the DILG which oversees LGUs and local business organizations are in the best position to identify and secure the participation of business establishments and industries equipped with power generators to run their equipment to ease the power shortage in the summer months of next year.
“The DoE should vigorously push the ILP program to maximize privately-generated power supply that commercial and industrial establishments can produce on their own to reduce dependence on the national power grid during the expected shortage in power supply in 2015,” Albano said.
Recently, the government through the DoE flip-flopped during the hearing of the House committee on energy chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali when it admitted that the purported crisis on energy was about the lack of reserves and not on the supply side.
The DoE is looking at the projected shortfall of 647 megawatts (MW) contingency reserve plus the 31 MW power shortage or a total of 678 MW in a worst case scenario.
Romualdez was disappointed by this development because the DoE pictured a grim scenario when it claimed the alleged 800 to 900 megawatts (MW) power shortage for the summer months of next year.
“People were made to believe that power crisis was about the supply, now it turned out that it was the lack of power reserves,” said Romualdez.
Nevertheless, Umali reiterated its commitment to approve the emergency powers by December 1.
Umali also vowed to look into the views of President Aquino that tapping private generator sets or the ILP may not be enough to address the lack of power reserves.
He clarified that the emergency powers they would give to President Aquino include 847 MW from ILP, 264 MW from plants for interconnection as disclosed by Manila Electric Company (Meralco), 690 MW from committed power plants and various energy conservation measures.
President Aquino on Wednesday told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum that ILP is only good should private firms agree to regularly generate power.