Cusi told: ‘Stop politicking, concentrate on power shortage’
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares on Tuesday called on Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to “stop politicking” and prioritize instead the looming power supply.
In a joint statement, Zarate and Colmenares said Cusi “should now stop politicking amidst the fighting in his political party and instead concentrate on the power shortages being experienced now.”
Zarate, also House deputy minority leader, noted that the Luzon grid was placed on yellow and red alerts on Monday and that there is another red alert raised on Tuesday.
“Today there is another red alert but this is worse than yesterday considering that 458MW is the deficiency of supply today versus 200MW yesterday, so this means double the brown out,” Zarate said.
“Sana ang pag-solusyon dito ang inuuna ni Secretary Cusi, hindi ‘yung banggayan sa partido nila para mas tumagal pa si Duterte sa poder,“ he added.
(I hope Secretary Cusi will prioritize solving this first and not their issue in their party that aims to retain Duterte.)
To recall, Cusi recently called a meeting for PDP-Laban members which Senator Manny Pacquiao, the party-list’s president, said was against party rules. Cusi later defended that the meeting was authorized by President Rodrigo Duterte as the party chair.
The red alert raised by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in the Luzon grid indicated rotational brownouts within the region as the grid displayed insufficient power supply. A yellow alert, on the other hand, means low power reserves due to high electricity demand.
“What is worse is that factories, malls and other enterprises have not fully opened yet and we already lack power,” said Zarate.
The lawmaker added that the yellow and red alert warnings show that energy demand has caught up with the existing supply, and that there is a need to start building capacity which can be done through “a comprehensive nationalized power plan.”
Zarate also suggested a review, amendment, or repeal of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to ensure that rates remain low while making sure that “power oligarchs” will not be able to push for heavy deals at the expense of the people.
Bayan Muna chairman Colmenares, meanwhile, pointed to forced power plant shutdowns that may have caused the yellow and red alerts and power rates to spike.
“It is the owners of the generation companies (GenCos) that should shoulder the additional cost of power that was caused by their plant shutdowns,” said Colmenares. “Tama lang ito, dahil sila naman talaga ang may kasalanan. May kontrata sila to deliver electricity to the public pero di nila naibigay.”
(This is just right, because they are the ones at fault. They have a contract to deliver electricity but they did not execute it.)
Colmenares said that the EPIRA allowed electricity prices to rise while energy supply is low amid plant shutdowns. He noted that GenCos earn profit from creating artificial supply and “should not escape liability by passing on to the public the higher electricity costs.”
Colmenares added that the situation can only be resolved if the ”power monopoly is broken down and EPIRA is repealed.” — Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, Inquirer trainee
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