• Electronics sector to reel from shutdown

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    The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. (Seipi) has asked the government to “exert efforts” in minimizing effects that will be caused by the Malampaya pipeline maintenance shutdown.

    In a statement, Seipi said that the competitiveness of the semiconductor and electronics industry is already under threat from the high cost of electricity in Asia, which will worsen once the Malampaya facility stops its operations.

    “We in Seipi would like plead on behalf [of our member-companies]for the Department of Energy [DOE] and Energy Regulatory Commission [ERC] to exert efforts to prevent higher electricity prices, and protect them from the effects that this maintenance shutdown will cause,” the group said.

    “Past experience with the periodic maintenance of the pipeline and the ample lead time given to the concerned parties will hopefully minimize any negative effects anticipated. We are confident that the Department of Energy and its attached agencies will ensure adequate supply and do its best to minimize the upward pressure on prices,” it added.

    Seipi said that while some of their clients have contracts to fixed prices of electricity, because retail electricity suppliers shield them from generation costs during maintenance period of power plants, there are still some “noncontestable members” who will suffer greatly from the month-long plant shutdown.

    Because of this, the organization is requesting for a shorter maintenance period of the Malampaya facility, if possible, to lessen the possible burden to power companies and consumers.

    “We recommend that adjustment mechanisms such as the Gram not be collected for this period, and that the maintenance proceed as swiftly as possible and are completed before the prescribed 30-day period. If the time frame cannot be shortened, the DOE and the ERC should ensure that there will be a cap on the price increase,” the Seipi said.

    Besides Malampaya, other power plants such as Calaca and Pagbilao coal-fired plants will also require momentary maintenance. The Malampaya shutdown will last from November 11 to December 10.

    From earlier reports, Seipi said that it expects a slowdown of 10 percent to 12 percent this year compared to the initial 5-percent growth forecast also for this year. Electronics exports are seen to go down 10 percent to 12 percent from 2012’s $22.5 billion.

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