Generator purchase to ease blackouts in Mindanao

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THE lingering power outages in Mindanao have prompted the Department of Energy (DOE) to seek speedy approval of loans for the distribution utilities’ purchase of generator sets and the transfer of power barges from Visayas to Mindanao.

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Rep. Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro, chairman of the House committee on energy, made the disclosure as a result of the caucus between the House energy panel, DoE Secretary Jericho Petilla, electric cooperatives and stakeholders.

Umali disclosed that Petilla, through the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), submitted its strategic plan on Modular Generating Sets with revised Rules of Procedures on timelines for decisions to expedite the process for distribution utilities who acquired or leased modular generating sets through National Electrification Administration’s (NEA) facility loan program.

The caucus revealed that the ERC is already closing in on a draft resolution authorizing Mindanao Distribution Utilities to include their actual fuel costs incurred by generating sets in the calculation of their monthly generation rates which they have leased or acquired under the NEA’s projects, capped at the Mapalad Power Corporation’s approved capital recovery fee and variable O&M under ERC Case No. 2013-190 RC, or actual, whichever is lower.

“This measure, when approved after the public consultation, should respond to the issue on the approval of Modular Generating Sets. The use of modular generator sets is the immediate short-term solution to the intermediate electricity needs of Minda- nao until baseload power plants come online by 2015,” Umali explained.

In addition, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (Psalm) has committed to transfer its power barges in Visayas to Mindanao to address the 377 megawatts supply deficiency.

The move is expected to help Lanao del Sur which has been enduring power outages for four months and counting.

Psalm President and Chief Executive Office Emmanuel Ledesma, Jr. vowed that Psalm will come up with a computation on the total cost to be incurred for the transfer of barges and asked for the support of the House energy panel in obtaining the approval of the Psalm Board.

“What is important now is that we have come up with solutions for the benefit and welfare of our people,” Umali, a member of the ruling Liberal Party chaired by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, pointed out.

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Ca–gayan de Oro welcomed Psalm’s move, saying Cagayan de Oro City is already losing P40 million per hour because of the power outages.

The Palace earlier said that the repair of the Pagbilao plant in Quezon, whose emergency shutdown last Friday caused rotating brownouts in Metro Manila and Bulacan province, would last a week and as such, would only be on its full functional status by next week.

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