MALACANANG is closely watching movements in the supply of electricity and water as the country continues to endure blistering weather amid an unstable power supply.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday said the tight monitoring will allow the government to immediately intervene when trouble arises such as the rotating brownouts experienced in Metro Manila due to the failure of Luzon-based power plants last week.
Coloma assured the public that the Energy and the Public Works and Highways departments are keeping tabs of all developments concerning electricity and water.
“We are tightly monitoring daily and hourly. The President [Benigno Aquino 3rd] is also giving the same amount of attention to that,” Coloma said over government-run Radyo ng Bayan.
Since many power plants run on water, the Palace official said, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has been coordinating with all water stakeholders, the Palace official added.
Coloma doused fears of some businessmen that the power crisis may worsen, explaining that the Department of Energy (DOE) is implementing the energy reform agenda that sees the establishment of more power plants and cleaner power sources.
“We also have the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) being implemented by the DOE beginning 2012 and would last up to 2030, or way beyond [Aquino’s] term,” the official noted.
Quoting the DOE, Coloma said the PEP mandates “development plans on power systems, transmission highways, distribution facilities, and missionary electrification provide the platform to put in place long-term reliable power supply, improve the country’s transmission and distribution systems and attain nationwide electrification.”
“Specifically, the PEP highlights the implementation of critical power infrastructure to address possible power outages. Based on the plan, the government will concentrate its efforts on the completion of committed power projects, as well as attract local and foreign investors who venture into indicative and potential power projects to include electrification projects,” he added.
Coloma said the comprehensive plan was set in motion in 2012, which means that “as early as 2012 the concerns of businessmen had been raised and addressed.”
“Hundreds of millions are spent on each project so that these projects should be long-term and sustainable,” he pointed out.
“The rotational brownouts experienced the other day and the tightness of power supply in Mindanao and other areas are part of the power situation inherited by the [Aquino] administration,” Coloma said.
The power reform program, he added, aims to ensure energy security through the development of indigenous energies such as renewable energy and hydrocarbon fuels, oil, gas and coal; achieve optimal energy pricing in electricity and oil; and develop a sustainable energy system.
Coloma’s statement came as the Sual plant in Pangasinan, which went off the grid on Tuesday, resumed operations. The Sual plant contributes 1,200 megawatts to the Luzon grid. Repair work on the Pagbilao plant in Quezon continued after the plant conked out due to a mechanical problem on Friday, triggering power outages.
Meanwhile, Oriental Mindoro’s second district Rep. Reynaldo Umali urged consumers to conserve energy.
Umali, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy, pointed out that the country needs new sources of energy.
“We need to build more power plants so the government must ensure that private sector interest continues so investments keep pouring in noting that power projects are capital intensive,” he said in a text message.
The construction of these power plants would speed up if red tape is cut, particularly in the approval process, Umali noted.
WITH REINA TOLENTINO