Aquino asks Congress for powers to solve power shortage
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has asked Congress to grant him powers to contract additional power generating capacity to address the expected shortage in 2015.
"In accordance with Section 71 of Republic Act No. 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001," I hereby seek the immediate enactment of a Joint Resolution authorizing the President to establish additional generating capacity," the President said in a letter to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (READ: Power emergency: What it means)
The Department of Energy (DOE) projects a power supply shortfall of up to 300 megawatts in the summer months of 2015 in Luzon. An additional 400 megawatts to 500 megawatts are needed as buffer supply.
The joint resolution needs the concurrence of both the Senate and the House of Representatives before it can be approved.
Oriental Mindoro 2nd district Representative Reynaldo Umali, chair of the House committee on energy, said the committee would ask DOE to provide how much power is really needed and how it will be contracted.
"What is the imminent power shortage that we will be experiencing so it is clearer. There have been meetings that we have called in the past but the figures given have varied. Now we would like to request the DOE for a formal communication so the parameters that we will consider in crafting a resolution, at least from the House of Representatives, is clearer," Umali said.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla estimates that contracting 300 megawatts will cost about $20 million or P8.8 billion per 100 megawatts.
Umali said the House is eyeing to pass the joint resolution by October.
However, Umali's counterpart in the Senate, Senator Sergio Osmeña III is wary of giving the President additional powers as a response to the projected energy crisis.
In an earlier radio interview, Osmeña said the request for emergency powers indicates failure on the part of the executive to manage the country's power situation.
Osmeña said the government should instead prioritize the implementation of the Manila Electric Company-led Interruptible Load Program, a scheme where heavy energy users, such as businesses and factories, will voluntarity run their standby generator sets to ease the demand for power from the grid during peak hours.
Petilla however earlier warned the ILP would be difficult to implement on a permanent basis since it is voluntary in nature. – Rappler.com