The Department of Energy (DOE) has warned the public that long rotating brownouts are likely if the looming problem of power shortages next year is not addressed immediately.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said that the rotating brownouts could last up to eight weeks during the scarcity of power anticipated to happen next summer.
Petilla said the power shortage could increase to 800 MW instead of the originally projected 600 MW because of possible dry spells caused by the El Niño phenomenon.
If these conditions occur, the DOE chief said that a “red alert” lasting up to eight weeks is likely, instead of the one-month period expected now.
“This only means that we experience long brownouts,” he said.
Besides the rotating brownouts, Petilla also warned of a possible power rate hike next year.
Petilla, however, said that any power rate hike would only be minimal.
He projected the hike might be between 15 to 20 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh), contradicting the claim of Senate Energy Committee chairman Sen. Sergio Osmeña that the increase would be P20 per kWh.
Petilla is pushing for the adoption of a joint Congressional resolution giving President Benigno Aquino 3rd emergency powers to address the looming power crisis.
“This is the reason why the President is asking authority for government to procure additional capacity without necessarily passing all expenses to the consumers,” Petilla told The Manila Times in a text message.
He also warned that if the authority is not given within this month, the government may have difficulty in making arrangements to generate the needed extra power.