Privately-owned generators tapped to ensure no brownouts in Mindanao during May polls

March 28, 2010 11:42 pm 

MANILA, March 28 – Amidst the current power crisis in Mindanao and fears of poll failure, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) is taking steps to ensure that the automated elections in May will not be disrupted by power outages.

NDCC chairman and Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales on Sunday said he called a meeting of NDCC officers, including all the regional directors, today in Cebu to discuss the measures the crisis body is taking.

Gonzales said making an inventory of the current available generators in the country will be a major subject in today’s meeting.

Gonzales has earlier disclosed that NDCC was eyeing to tap privately-owned generators and positioning them, one in every cluster of precincts, during the May 10 elections.

“We will be asking our people who have generators to register their generators with the NDCC so we can use them during the elections,” he said.

The defense chief said that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had bought back-up generators for the elections, but he said it was better to be redundant in contingency preparations than having nothing at all.

“We cannot afford to have a failure of election. Government should exert all efforts to eliminate the possibility of failure of election,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales also said that measures were being undertaken to ensure that there would be no power outages in Mindanao from May 8 to 12. To achieve this goal, the water of Lake Lanao is being preserved so that there will be enough supply for hydropower plants during the election period.

A state of calamity was declared in Mindanao earlier this month because of a severe power deficiency in the island, which resulted in daily brownouts that last four to five hours and ongoing for three weeks now.

Gonzales inspected some of the hydropower plants in Mindanao and held consultation meetings with the region’s key power stakeholders early this week.

Gonzales said, after his visit to Mindanao, that it was now necessary that government and the private sector study alternative sources of power for Mindanao because “suddenly, hydropower is unreliable because of El Nino.” Mindanao is 55% dependent on hydropower for its energy requirement.(PNA) RMA/VR

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