Palace parries calls for Petilla to resign

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Malacañang on Friday shrugged off a growing clamor for Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to resign for allegedly fabricating a power crisis scenario next summer.

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Several groups, including the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-led Nagkaisa, accused Petilla of painting a false picture to justify the call for emergency powers for President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

“Secretary Petilla took the country for a ride. He bluffed the President, the Cabinet, the senators and congressmen, the business sector, the labor and consumer groups with his tall tales of thin power reserves to justify emergency powers that entail possible purchase of multibillion-peso generator sets,” Nagkaisa said in a statement.

But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. maintained that Petilla did not deceive anyone, and that even President Aquino “has affirmed need to prepare for contingency.”

At a forum of foreign correspondents last Wednesday, the President reiterated the need for Congress to provide him with the means to “prepare for the worst” if a power shortage sets in next year.

“At the end of the day, if there is no power, and the selling of power for that matter, if there is no power come our summer months, there will only be one party that will be blamed, and that will be the executive,” Aquino said.

At a House hearing on Monday, the Department of Energy predicted three to five-hour rotating brownouts for five straight days in a row in the summer of 2015, contrary to the data of the House energy committee that showed only a 31-megawatt shortfall, or a one-hour rotating brownout for one day in a week.

Aquino is asking Congress to issue a joint resolution to grant him special powers that will allow the government to buy or lease generator sets to augment the thinning power reserves.

While the House was earlier open to granting him powers, lawmakers appear less inclined to do so after comparing data, and seem more likely to recommend the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) to address the energy shortage.

The ILP is a voluntary scheme where customers with large power loads, such as factories and malls, will be asked to operate their own generator sets during peak hours. The ILP, rather than contracting power, would also be a less costly option.

Aquino acknowledged that the ILP “is a plausible substitute” but said “these standby generators for the most part have never been considered as baseload plants.”

Also on Friday, Petilla reiterated the need for emergency presidential powers, saying the best antidote to a power crisis is to contract additional generating capacity.

He downplayed suggestions to postpone the Malampaya shutdown scheduled from March to June next year, saying suspending the shutdown would only result in bigger revenue losses for the government.

“A reserve shortage is a power crisis problem, that’s what people don’t understand,” Petilla told a television interview.

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5 Comments

  1. The truth is the power generators at Batangas areas will encounter transmission restriction problem at Calaca Dasmarinas lines from which its was shared by 2x300MW from DMCI-SCPC Plant and by 1200MW Santa Rita Lopez group Plant. The newly built DMCI-SLPGC 2X150MW also at Calaca to which one unit will be operational soon are now encountering problem becoz they cannot use the same Calaca-Dasma lines due to line restriction. Why the NGCP and the Govt are not installing new substation for theses new power plant, i think it takes 3 years to build new substation or replacing the existing wire cables with large capacity but also it takes a year or two and it needs to shutdown the existing connected power plants that resulted to major brownout. It is for the information of the public.

  2. crispin basilio ibarra on

    the need for emergency presidential power is resulted to so petilla can enter to a negotiated contract which is to me questionable , even if there is a bidding still bribery or corruption is always present because of the amount involve.

    the end does not justify the means, what are the present power operator doing , why are they not building new base load plants? why is there a need for the secretary of energy to urged them to build more plants … power generation is a profitable venture but then why are they not building more plants… why there is still a need to negotiate form them before they build more power generation plant …

    its just because under the sweet deal the govt thru psalm will supply the fuel? for this power generation companies…
    i smell something fishy …..

    meron na naman mag kaka pera nyan … basta meron deal lalot negotiated meron at meron kikita ng pera .. meron suhulan tiyak…

    luman tugtogin na po iyan…. laos na…

  3. “A reserve power shortage is a power crisis problem” says petilla and he adds “that’s what people don’t understand”. He is right about one thing his statement can not be understood. How could there be a power crisis when ony the “reserve” (i.e. what one puts up when there is a shortage in the main source), is less than ideal. What petilla must ensure is that the main suppliers don’t conk out deliberately again by strict monitoring and serious imposition of penalties for violators. Or more importantly hasten the coming online of power projects nearing completion with full government support. To this day I keep wondering why petilla seems clueless about the geothermal power project in biliran Leyte his home province. I understand from the project owners that it is very near completion already. Why does not the DOE publish a listing of all on going power projects and project the timeline when these will come online so it can plan how to best harness the power that will become available.

  4. That’s the right thing to do, prepare for the worst. But why would Petilla (I now hate to call him Secretary) need to lie, he could just tell the truth. Shame on you Petilla!

  5. That’s the right thing to do, prepare for the worst. But would Petilla (I now hate to call him Secretary) need to lie, he could just tell the truth. Shame on you Petilla!