The country’s power situation will worsen in the next two years in part due to bureaucratic red tape, a lawmaker said on Thursday.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said no new power plants are being built largely because the government is taking way too long in granting permits for their construction.
“Securing permits requires 150 to 169 signatures and the process to build more power plants takes about four to five years or more,” Umali, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, told reporters.
He said that in Peru and other countries, the government takes care of securing licenses and permits on behalf of the private investor. In certain states in the US it takes only 45 days to secure a government permit for building a new power plant.
Power reserves across the Philippines are currently thin, with a large part of the country susceptible to outages every time aging power plants break down or undergo preventive maintenance.
Parts of Metro Manila (National Capital Region) experienced rotating brownouts earlier last May because the Luzon grid fell short of the region’s demand following the technical shutdown of a 375-megawatt plant.
During that month, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the country’s power grid operator, issued a red alert notice to its Luzon grid customers on insufficiency of power supply brought about by the unplanned shutdowns of certain power plants, including Unit 1 of Pagbilao plant in Quezon province.
Umali has proposed a bill that will amend provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira).
The measure seeks to also address concerns of investors about the country’s high power rates and power deficiency.
Umali said there is a need to amend the Epira because “the promise of the law remains unfulfilled.”