SERIOUS concerns about a power supply shortfall in Luzon in 2015-2016, a similar potential shortfall in the Visayas, and the ongoing shortage in Mindanao call for concerted action, but one that does not need to press the panic button among the public, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said in a statement today.
This challenge we face now does not come as a surprise, PCCI president Alfredo Yao said.
The country’s largest business organization explained that over the last four to five years, the power supply and demand situation has been extensively presented and discussed in several consumer, business, and government fora. With the supply shortfall escalating into brownouts in Luzon, the PCCI described the situation as “finally putting everyone on the same page,” and stressed that all stakeholders should act in unison to address the issues at hand.
From the combined economic, industry, investment and even political view, there
appears to be two basic critical periods to address, according to the PCCI – the 2015-16 period, and the long-term post-2016 period. “The first has to be confronted with basic ‘stop-gap’ or ‘band-aiding’ measures. This situation is like a golf ball lying 6 inches from the hole. It is a ‘give’ situation and there is no need to tap it in, meaning any steps taken to cure, to bridge or aid the gap would be acceptable to all. There is no need to declare a national emergency,” Yao said.
“The second is different because it must be addressed by way of a well-laid out plan that is shared with all stakeholders and which government could smoothly and competently implement through the grant of emergency powers to the President, if the plan would warrant the declaration of a state of emergency. Without such a well-laid plan behind it, declaring a state of emergency would be dangerous and could eventually be counter-productive as we have experienced before,” Yao added.
The PCCI pointed out that the private sector has submitted several proposals to entice investments and improve generation adequacy including aggregating the demand of distribution utilities, opening the generation market to competitive bidding and streamlining the business permitting and licensing system.
The national government, the PCCI said, should begin to earnestly consider these proposals and develop them into a roadmap consistent with the goals of adequate and reliable power supply and competitive power rates.
The PCCI believes, however, that the situation can be adequately solved without amending the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira), saying this would create unnecessary restlessness and uncertainties and slow down the present market and investment momentum.
Also, the same situation may be expected should a national emergency that is not founded on any solid plan is declared, the PCCI statement added, stressing that the exercise of strong and reasonable political leadership and will could provide assurance of better power supply and price competitiveness.