DOE asks Congress for P3 billion contingency fund

September 16, 2009 12:42 pm 

MANILA, Sept. 16 — To avert a power shortage crisis in the country, the energy department is asking Congress for a P3 billion contingency fund.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes admitted that since 2008 Visayas and Mindanao are already experiencing rotating brownouts, and that Luzon is about to face a “critical period” by next year.

“We are already experiencing brownouts in the Visayas since last year and we are already experiencing some brownouts in Mindanao and by 2010 we might be experiencing brownouts in Luzon,” Reyes said.

“The contingency plan will address the situation if the indicative projects did not come in. We can't afford brownouts, much more, blackouts. Power supply is something that is very critical,” he told reporters.

According to Reyes the National Power Corp. completed the contingency plan last September 7 but it is still up for discussion. The plan involves the rehabilitation or uprating of some of our power plants and transmission lines that would ensure the delivery of power.

Reyes also vowed to ensure adequate supply of electricity in 2010 as the nation holds its synchronized general elections.

“We will make sure that power will be available when we need it. It is the job of the department to ensure that there will be adequate power for the conduct of the national elections,” he said.

Section 71 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, according to the Energy chief also states that “in the case of imminent power supply problem, the President upon her discretion can declare and say that we’re in some kind of a power shortage situation and ask the concurrence of Congress to support a contingency plan to address the situation.”

“I mentioned also that we may, should the need for additional power arise, then the President with the concurrence of Congress, may declare a situation that would need the government to come in and set up a security power generating facility. But that would need a Presidential Declaration and a concurrence from Congress,” he said.

Based on the Power Supply and Demand 2008-2017 report of the DOE, Reyes said Luzon is facing a critical period this year as it would need 3,000 megawatts (MW) of power during the 10-year period but there is only around 600 MW of committed projects and 3,380 MW of indicative projects to date.

“We are confident about the committed projects but the indicative projects are something we have to continue to work on. But this does not mean we’re not prepared and we’ve not prepared anything,” he said.

He said the contingency plan of Napocor will address the power situation in the country.

“We brought this to the attention of the Lower House that this would need funding and so we communicated with them this particular matter. We are asking and we have asked Congress to help us address this problem,” he said.

For the Visayas which is already suffering from rotating brownouts it needs 500 MW during the 10-year period but there is only 320 MW of committed projects at present and only about 186 MW are indicative.

On the other hand, Mindanao needs 600 MW during the period but only has 100 MW of committed projects while the remaining 576 MW are indicative projects.

The department said Mindanao's power situation is vulnerable to water availability because 50 percent of the requirement of the grid is supplied by hydro plants. He added that a 600 MW coal plant is set to come on stream by 2012.

Reyes said the Philippines needs a total of 4,100MW additional capacity from today to 2017 however, the commitment they received from the private sector stands at 1,000 MW of capacity.(PNA)

/V3/MSN/

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