THE Senate Committee on Energy on Thursday said it would immediately act on a proposed resolution calling for a Senate inquiry into the simultaneous shutdowns of six power plants in the Luzon grid last weekend that caused a massive spike in electricity rates.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, committee chairman, said they would also investigate possible price-rigging by electricity industry players as indicated by the sudden shutdowns.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Wednesday filed a resolution calling for an investigation of the power situation of the Luzon grid and determination of the cause of the simultaneous shutdowns of the power plants.
Recto expressed concern that the power interruptions now being experienced in Luzon “could disrupt the economic growth momentum of the Philippines and could discourage potential foreign investors.”
“What we want is to determine what really happened and come upwith legislation to prevent this type of collusion [from]happening,” Gatchalian said during a television interview.
The senator noted that the simultaneous shutdowns have resulted in a spike on electricity prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
The prices jumped to five times the normal rate, from an average of P4 per kilowatt hour to a whopping P20 per kilowatt hour from July 29 to 30.
Gatchalian said there is need to find out if there are mechanisms to prevent collusion and policies to punish those involve in it.
The senator also raised the need to develop strong planning and forecasting mechanisms for the energy sector to prevent shortage in the future.