Power supply holding in Luzon – lawmaker

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There had been no power shortage in Luzon almost two months (March and April) into the summer, the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) announced on Tuesday.

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As a result, according to Rep. Reynaldo Umali, House energy panel chairman and member of the JCPC, the government did not have to tap additional power through the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

Under the ILP, private companies will use their self-generating facilities or power generators for their own power supply during the summer months to ease demand from the national grid.

In exchange, they will be compensated P450 million from March to July this year.

“Despite the DOE’s [Department of Energy] predictions that there will be a shortage of -21 to -31 megawatts during the Malampaya shutdown, we are yet to experience brownouts because we have 1,500 MW on top of the 1,100 MW that we [could gather]from the ILP,” Umali said during the Ugnayan sa Batasan news forum.

He defended lawmakers who had been backing grant of special powers to President Benigno Aquino 3rd that would address an expected energy crisis in the dry months.

“This [absence of brownouts]only shows that we were right in pursuing the emergency powers for the President because we want to ensure support from the private sector. From 115 MW, we have [a possible]1,100 MW from the ILP. If we went ahead with the lease option [of generator sets], we [would have]already spent P6 billion by now. Instead, we haven’t spent a dime thus far,” Umali said.

The emergency powers were supposed to allow Aquino to compensate the ILP participants P450 million for five months spanning the summer and June and July, as well as suspend environmental laws in order to speed up connection of power plants to the national grid.

The grant of such powers to the President, however, gathered dust in the bicameral conference committee because a Senate contingent, led by Sen. Sergio Osmeña 3rd, wants the public, not the government, to pay for the ILP compensation.

Umali conceded that power supply is still problematic in Mindanao in southern Philippines but not necessarily because of lack of power supply.

During a recent visit to Caraga Region and Regions 9, 10 and 11, he said, he learned that electric cooperatives shy away from entering contracts with power suppliers because of the high cost.

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