Power disruption in PH is gov't's self-inflicted wound, says Gatchalian | Inquirer News
if not corrected, rotational brownouts may start as early as April 2022

Power disruption in PH is gov’t’s self-inflicted wound, says Gatchalian

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 02:03 PM June 09, 2021

Sen. Win Gatchalian at the Senate

Sen. Win Gatchalian. Senate PRIB file photo / Henzberg Austria

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday described the current energy situation in the country as a government’s “self-inflicted wound,” issuing a warning that if not corrected, rotational brownouts in 2022 would start as early as April.

“For me, the government also has to blame itself for this brownout. If you ask me, looking at what’s happening, it’s a self-inflicted wound,” said Gatchalian in a forum, Kapihan sa Manila Bay.


“Meaning we’re not enforcing what we need to enforce,” he added.


Citing the issue on energy reserves, Gatchalian said that 71 percent of our power plants are already 15 years old and even older.

This should give the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) all the more reason to find reserves they can contract, according to the senator.

“Since there are no reserves being contracted, and NGCP who is supposed to contract those reserves, and they’re not penalizing. Obviously, nothing is happening,” said Gatchalian.

“If we do nothing, we’ll have brownouts again. If we remain as is, status quo right now, definitely 100 percent ako, as early as April brownout na kaagad (I’m 100 percent sure there will be brownout already as early as April next year)” he added.

NGCP had previously been ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to comply with a requirement that it enter into supply contracts for ancillary services, or reserve power that it can access whenever the need arose.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has also repeatedly criticized the NGCP for being “consistently non-compliant” with the obligation to secure contracts for ancillary services.


NGCP, however, said in April that the ancillary services required the availability of excess capacity and that contracts could not be secured if there were no such surplus.

Meanwhile, Meralco Vice President and head of corporate communications, Joe Zaldarriaga, assured that Meralco is “amply covered as far as our supply requirements are concerned.”

He, however, admitted that it is very difficult to predict the energy situation for 2022, adding that nobody in the energy industry anticipated the recent rotating interruptions to occur.

The call-out to NGCP started when it suddenly put the entire Luzon system on red alert for three days — May 31 to June 2 — after electricity demand exceeded available power plant capacity.

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This prompted the ERC, the Department of Energy, and the national government to probe the nation’s transmission operator.

TAGS: MERALCO, NGCP, power outages

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