Not so fast.
Instead of granting emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino 3rd to address an imminent power shortage next year, leaders of the House of Representatives moved for an investigation to determine if emergency powers are really necessary.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd made the move under their House Resolution 1533, that seeks to determine the need to establish additional generating capacity to ensure the energy requirements of the country.
President Aquino, on the recommendation of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, is seeking emergency powers to allow the government to contract power generating sets, which will be good for 300 to 600 megawatts, in order to meet an expected increased demand for energy during the summer season.
“It is important for the House of Representatives to be provided with the necessary, relevant and sufficient information on the actual or projected requirements needed to ensure the energy requirements of the country, in view of the identified circumstances contributing to the critical electricity situation in the summer months of 2015,” the resolution said.
Gonzales on Thursday warned that renting power generating sets for P6 billion in two years as pitched by Petilla could result in excess supply.
The lawmaker noted that with at least two power plants set to be in place by end of 2015 or early 2016, leasing power generating sets would be impractical since the projected shortfall is limited to three to four months of the summer season.
He was referring to the Lopez-owned 100 megawatt Avion power plant, Petron’s 100-megawatt coal power plant, as well as the idle 100 megawatt power plant in Navotas City (Metro Manila).
“The peak hours are just at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If we look at the possibility of leasing, we’ll be paying rent for two years at the same time that these new power plants are coming in. In that situation, we’ll have excess supply,” Gonzales said.
Instead of leasing, he recommended mandatory participation in the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).
Under the ILP, shopping malls and big companies with large standby generation capacity will not get power supply from power plants and instead run their own generators.