Malacañang on Sunday said energy officials must stop tossing blame for the power crisis gripping Mindanao and instead find ways to solve it.
“This is not the time for blaming,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said, emphasizing the need for cooperation to solve the problem.
”We need to cooperate to find solutions to the problem,” he added.
Mindanao was hit by a massive blackout on Thursday, with the grid losing 1,100 to 1,200 megawatts.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the Agus 1 hydropower plant in Lanao del Norte malfunctioned, triggering the outage. However, the National Power Corp. (NPC) denied Petilla’s claim.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is investigating the incident.
Coloma admitted that Mindanao may be having intermittent brownouts because not all power plants are back online.
”The power supply in Mindanao is limited,” he said, adding that the base load plants servicing the island supply only 37 percent of the demand.
This is why President Benigno Aquino 3rd stressed the “tightness of supply” of power in the region, Coloma said.
He said the DOE and NPC are doing their best to minimize the disruptions while waiting for new plants to be built next year.
Aquino had said that regular tripping could occur in the existing grids, resulting in power interruptions.
He added that regular three-hour rotating brownouts can be expected in Mindanao.
Coloma said the government has begun making structural changes to entice the private sector to put up power plants.
Last year, Aboitiz began a project to build two coal-fired power plants in Davao, which will provide a total of 300 megawatts. The new plants are expected to fully operate on 2015.
Meanwhile, Coloma said the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will not be allowed to collect additional rates while the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court is in effect.
He said government will make sure that power consumers do not suffer from unfair electricity rate increases.
With report from PNA