Marinduque Rep. Velasco: Power outages could undermine poll results
MANILA, Philippines — Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco urged the Department of Energy (DOE) and industry players to ensure that there would be sufficient power supply not only during election day but all throughout the counting and transmission of votes so as not to cast doubt on the credibility of the poll results.
Velasco is running for reelection in the lone congressional district of Marinduque.
Velasco, who chairs the Committee on Energy in the House of Representatives, issued the statement on Sunday, in light of the power outages affecting most parts of Metro Manila and some areas in Luzon and the apparent lack of assurance from the sector of ample power supply during the critical period of the electoral exercise.
“What the public wants is a fair, clean and honest elections,” he said. “If there will be power interruptions, I worry that it would compromise the results and credibility of the election. Our energy officials and industry players must pull all strings to allay fears and meet the public’s expectations.”
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had issued “red alert” warnings, meaning there was a severe power deficiency in the Luzon grid with the simultaneous breakdown of five power plants.
News reports also quoted the head of the NGCP-Luzon System Operations that power outages could linger until June because of thin power reserves.
While energy officials claim there will be sufficient and efficient power supply come May 13, when the demand is low because it is a holiday, Velasco said this early contingency plans must be put in place to deal with power outages, especially during the canvassing and transmission of votes.
“They better be ready,” Velasco said. “We cannot afford to endanger the election processes and the results.”
At the same time, Velasco is pushing the DOE to fast-track the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop or EVOSS, a new law recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte that aims to streamline the permitting process of power generation, transmission, and distribution projects to bring down the cost of doing business in the country of potential inventors.
“Without the IRR, it would be difficult to attract more power generation companies to put up plants to meet the increasing demand for energy in the country,” Velasco said.
Velasco, one of the authors of the EVOSS who spearheaded its approval in the House, believes the solution to thin power reserves is having more power plants distributed across the country.
He is also hoping that the energy efficiency and conservation bill, which he championed in the House, could be passed as this will also contribute to efforts to ensure sufficient power supply nationwide.
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