• Malampaya mum on Meralco remedy to power shortage

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    Operators of Malampaya offshore gas platform are yet to act on a proposal from the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) on how to address an anticipated power problem next year.

    Meralco, according to Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, had wanted the gas platform in Palawan to be shut down in February instead of March next year “to ease the burden of April, when the demand is high.”

    “We’re trying to get their [operators’] final stand. Can it [schedule]be moved? What are the implication?” Petilla said.

    He added that the Department of Energy (DOE) also wanted to ensure that Holy Week in April be covered by the Malampaya shutdown even when the demand is low during that period.

    Shutdown of any of the power plants is expected to adversely affect the Luzon grid’s power supply as well as costs.

    Meralco relayed its proposal during a meeting called by Petilla last week as part of efforts to find possible solutions to the impending power crisis early next year.

    The Energy chief earlier cautioned the government against such crisis, citing becau projected supply deficit of 200 megawatts (MW) in the summer of 2015.

    President Benigno Aquino 3rd has directed the DOE to start talking with various stakeholders and industry players on how to deal with the expected power shortage.

    Aquino, in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 28, admitted that the country may face a power problem, so he directed Petilla to spearhead efforts to address it.

    The Energy secretary has recommended that the President invoke Section 71 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) that allows Congress to grant him emergency powers to solve the power situation.

    Petilla pointed to a need to implement early “smooth and preventive” measures to address the imminent tight supply in 2015.

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