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Romblon officials seek ERC help in preventing provincial power crisis

/ 02:51 AM February 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Provincial Board of Romblon and nine mayors have sought the help of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to help them prevent a power crisis on Tablas Island.

The officials made the appeal in a letter addressed to ERC Chairperson Agnes Devenadera.

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They said it would be hard for them to cope with the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic if the power supply were to be cut off in the coming months.

The board also unanimously called for the early resolution of the power rate petition filed by Suweco Tablas Energy Corp. (STEC), the lone power supplier on the island province.

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In another statement, the officials said they asked for help after STEC told ERC and consumers on the island that operations would be scaled down starting Monday, Feb. 15, Monday, due to millions of pesos in losses brought about by power rate approvals.

“In response to [STEC’s] letter dated 18 January 2021, we, the Mayors of Tablas Island in the Province of Romblon hereby appeal to the Honorable [ERC] to please immediately resolve the Petition of STEC and Tablas Electric Cooperative (‘TIELCO’) for the purpose of averting the happening of a power crisis,” the officials said in their letter to Devenadera.

“During these times of pandemic, the need for a stable and reliable power supply is significant in order to effectively prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, since most of our constituents are staying at home, curtailing the power supply would greatly affect them,” they added.

The nine mayors who signed the letter to Devenadera are the following:

  • Riza Pamorada of Alcantara
  • Marietta Babera of Calatrava
  • Jovencio Mayor Jr. of Ferrol
  • Lisette Arboleda of Looc
  • Lorilie Fabon of Santa Maria
  • Arsenio Gadon of San Andres
  • Esteban Madrona of San Agustin
  • Elsie Visca of Santa Fe
  • Trina Alejandra Firmalo-Fabic of Odiongan

The officials also noted that Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona made a similar plea, saying that STEC’s losses could have stemmed from ERC’s decision to charge a solar rate for diesel in excess of the generation mix and due to the computation of the generation mix on a monthly basis.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have shifted to either online classes or a blended learning scheme — both requiring students to have internet access.

Without ample electricity, education may be placed in peril, especially during the approaching dry season when electric reserves usually grow thin.

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Constant electricity would also be needed in the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, as vaccines would have to be stored in freezers usually in temperatures below 0ºC to ensure their efficacy.

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TAGS: Agnes Devanadera, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, ERC, Romblon mayors, Romblon power supply, Romblon Provincial Board
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