Need for special powers doubted
• December 6, 2014
• Written by Jester P. Manalastas
• Published in Top Stories
THE House Independent Minority bloc, led by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, still doubts the need to grant the President emergency powers, which energy officials said is needed to solve the looming power crisis in 2015.
This is because Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has not presented any “convincing piece of document” until now to support his alarmist warnings on the possible energy crisis.
Romualdez is urging his colleagues in the House of Representatives to study carefully if there would really be a power shortage next year and if emergency powers are the real solution.
“DoE, and for that matter, Malacañang, has not yet produced any basis, like a technical study or analysis, on why there will be an electricity crisis in 2015,” Romualdez said. “Or on how they arrived at the maximum 1,004-megawatt shortage which the President himself warns against in the resolution. On the contrary, we all heard DoE officials admit in one of our hearings that there is no forthcoming electricity crisis,” he added.
The House has started deliberating in the plenary the Joint Resolution No. 21 granting President Benigno Aquino III a special authority to allow government to establish additional generating capacity to resolve the looming power crisis.
Petilla earlier warned that consumers in Luzon will experience rotating brownouts during the summer months of 2015 due to the 1,004-megawatt shortage, of which 600 MW are needed as required “dispatchable” reserve, and 401 MW for required contingency reserves.
President Aquino, in a letter sent to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. on November 27, asked Congress for the “immediate” passage of the HJR 21 to “adequately resolve this emergency through the expeditious acquisition of additional power generating capacities to be used during the anticipated period of deficient energy supply.”
But Romualdez demanded an explanation from the Energy department on how they they came up with the maximum 1,004-MW shortage being pegged by the Energy Department.
“What is coming is only a thinning of reserves by a maximum of 30-plus megawatts, and not the 1,004 megawatts which Malacanang now claims in the resolution,” Romualdez said. “In other words, the sole basis we know of the supposed forthcoming electricity crisis are only the words of President Aquino and the DoE,” he added.
The Independent solons wanted to know the truth about the looming power crisis.
The President earlier said that “a critical energy situation will pose a tangible threat to the country’s developing economy and will hinder the delivery of basic social services to the detriment of the general welfare of the people.”
The joint resolution provides “additional generating capacity shall be sourced from the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), fast tracking of committed projects, and plants for interconnection and rehabilitation.”
Under the ILP program, malls, factories, and other establishments will be allowed to use their own generator sets when the supply of electricity falls short of demand.