Power situation soon critical, Petilla warns

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Warning that the power supply in Luzon and Visayas will be critical starting on March 15, the Department of Energy (DOE) has called on the Senate and House of Representatives to immediately harmonize contentious provisions of their respective versions of the proposed joint resolution giving emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino 3rd that will allow him to address an expected electricity shortage this summer.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said Luzon and the Visayas will be entering a critical period next week, thus the need to swiftly pass the joint resolution.

Petilla warned that if the shortage will go beyond 631 megawatts (MW), the Luzon grid will have power outages.

The DOE projects a power shortfall beginning March 15 when the Malampaya gas plant will be shut down.


Petilla maintained that Aquino needs special powers to address the looming power problem.

Joint Resolution 12 allows the government to provide up to P450 million in subsidies to private companies that will use their power generators for their own power supply during the summer months through the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

The DOE is trying to raise about 800 megawatts (MW) of additional power supply through the ILP.

Under the program, big business establishments will use their generator sets for a certain period of time in order to ease power demand from the main grid.

Petilla said one of the issues that Congress will have to settle is the payment of the differential cost to those who will join the ILP.

“In the case of the Senate, all the differential costs will be shouldered by consumers. In the House of Representatives, consumers will not only shoulder the differential cost but the entire ILP,” he told reporters.

The bicameral conference committee on Tuesday started reconciling contentious provisions of the Senate and House versions after the Senate approved on third and final reading its joint resolution on Monday.

Petilla said the DOE has already started drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

“Our IRR is almost done. We will just fill in the blanks depending on the outcome of the final version of Joint Resolution,” he added.

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