Coloma urges all stakeholders to help in addressing power crisis in Mindanao

March 30, 2012 10:51 pm 

MANILA, March 30 — Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma on Friday urged all stakeholders from government and private sectors to share the burden of ensuring reliable power supply at affordable rates amid power crisis in Mindanao.

”We should continue consultation with all the stakeholders specially with our legislators,” Coloma said during the weekly Communication and News Exchange (CNEX) forum over PTV Channel 4 hosted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

”There must be a sharing of burden and sacrifices. We have to unite and cooperate with the help of private and government sectors and industries to discuss the best sharing of burden to solve the problem,” he said.

Coloma said the power shortage in Mindanao could have been avoided if not of the decision of the Mindanao lawmakers to exclude the region in the implementation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) Law which was approved in 2001.

”The lawmakers in Mindanao have asked for 10-year moratorium on the privatization of Napocor plant. So they are not covered. We’re not able to correct reforms which we implemented in Luzon and Visayas. That’s the reality we have to face,” he said.

Coloma said the passage of EPIRA law in 2001 was very important due to debt-ridden National Power Corporation (Napocor).

”What the law did was we shifted from government managed electricity industry to a market driven competitive environment. That was a crucial change,” Coloma said.

”The EPIRA has brought significant change in our country specially in Luzon and Visayas because investment started to come in and brought new power generation facilities at the affordable prices,” he added.

Coloma said the Agus Plant, the oldest hydropower plant commissioned in 1953, needs to be replaced even as he revealed that climate change has affected the hydropower plants in Mindanao.

”The lifespan of the Agus Plant was only 30 years. So it should have been upgraded in early 80s. There is power shortage because the main source of power in Mindanao is hydro electricity and because of climate change, water is no longer abundant,” he said.

Department of Energy (DoE) undersecretary Loreta Ayson appealed to every Filipino specially government offices to conserve energy amid the power shortage in Mindanao.

”Every Filipino can help address the problem by joining our energy conservation program specially the government offices which are required to reduce their electricity consumption by 10 percent,” Ayson, who also graced the CNEX forum, said.

The Mindanao grid that needs an average of 1,300 megawatt, reportedly lacks an average of 50 MW to 300 MW resulting in two to four hours of rotating browns in Mindanao since January this year. (PNA)

lgi/JFM

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