A RANKING official of the Department of Energy (DOE) on Monday admitted that the expected power shortage by summer 2015—which prompted President Benigno Aquino 3rd to seek emergency powers— is only 31 megawatts (MW) at worst.
Assistant Director Irma Esconde of the DOE’s Industry Power Management Bureau made the admission during the first congressional hearing on House Resolution 1533 which aims to determine how much power shortfall the country would experience by summer of 2015.
Esconde explained that the additional power generators that the government plans to acquire once emergency powers are granted to the Chief Executive aim to increase the available power reserves, not supply, in anticipation of possible simultaneous forced outages of power plants.
“If the forced outages won’t happen, then we’ll have no problem. But there are days when forced outages affect 1,500 to 1,700 MW of our reserves. This is based on historical estimates as we have seen in recent years,” Esconde said.
She disclosed that the emergency powers are needed mainly for meeting the need for a 647 MW supply or contingency reserve plus the projected 31 MW power shortfall for a total of 678 MW.
Esconde noted that there is a need to boost power reserves by summer since the Malampaya natural gas plant will be on maintenance shutdown from March 15 to April 13, 2015.
Also yesterday, members of various militant groups trooped to Congress to dramatize their strong opposition to the request of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to grant him emergency powers.
The militants reacted to reports that Congress is set to pass a joint resolution granting emergency powers to Aquino in the next few days.
The groups also took the opportunity to launch a movement called ARM the People (All Resist Movement) that vowed to undertake continuous mass actions against the Aquino administration because of its blatant abuse of executive powers.
They cited as an example his use of Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The militants claimed the request for additional power has no factual basis and that it was merely conjured to justify power rates increases next year.
Aaron Pedrosa of SANLAKAS said “the President’s determination of a power shortage by 2015 is one based on conjecture absent of substantiation.”
Gie Relova of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) said 2.7 million households remain without access to electricity because the country’s power rates are the most expensive in Asia.