THE government will need an additional budget of P4 billion to P10 billion should Congress decide to grant emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino 3rd to allow him to address a looming power crisis next year.
In an interview over radio station dzBB over the weekend, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Aquino would use the emergency powers to negotiate a contract for the acquisition or lease of additional generation capacity, estimated at around 300 megawatts.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla had asked the Senate and the House of Representatives to grant the President extra powers.
The Senate president could not say how much would be shouldered by power consumers once the cost of electricity increased but he promised that they would try to keep it to a minimum.
He said the country needs to generate an additional 800 megawatts from now until March to make sure that there will be no shortage during the summer months and even until July next year.
Of the 800 megawatts, 475 megawatts will come from new plants that are expected to be operational before March and another 25 megawatts would come from big private corporations that will participate in the interruptible load program (ILP).
The program involves private establishments agreeing to temporarily use their respective backup power generators as their power source for several hours for three months in order to ease power demand. The government in exchange will pay for their additional cost.
It will cut additional power needs by 300 megawatts.
Drilon’s idea of an additional authority for the President is different from what Sen. Sergio Osmeña 3rd is proposing.
In an earlier interview, Osmena said what is needed is a resolution to make ILP effective and that Congress does not need a joint resolution to allow the President to acquire additional generation capacity.
He added that the committed capacity under ILP is about 400 megawatts and if added to the 385 megawatts to be produced by new power plants in Batangas and in Ilocos Norte, the country will have enough available power to address the expected power crisis next year.