Gov’t speedying up permits for biomass plants to boost power supply in Negros, Panay islands
BACOLOD CITY––Government officials are fast-tracking the release of permits for biomass power plants and the completion of submarine cables to increase the power supply on Negros and Panay islands.
This was the assurance given at a House Committee on Energy virtual meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo chaired the meeting.
Lawmakers from Negros and Panay, through House Resolution 2206, had sought an inquiry into the power rate increases in their areas.
“Consumers should not shoulder the cost arising from lack of power supply and congestion due to the damage to the NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines) Cebu-Negros submarine transmission cable. Power generation companies should roll back electricity rates and refund consumers,” said Rep. Francisco Benitez of Negros Occidental’s 3rd district.
In June, the Department of Public Works and Highways accidentally damaged the submarine cable of the NGCP in Amlan town, Negros Oriental, consequently cutting off the island’s power supply from Cebu and drove up electricity rates for consumers.
“We need to hold the DOE (Department of Energy) and the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) to their timelines to increase transmission capacities, to place online and fully utilize our internal renewable power generation capabilities. But we also need to see where the cooperatives can improve their services to the consumers with the least amount of costs,” Benitez said after the hearing.
Agnes Devanadera, the ERC chairperson, told the lawmakers during the meeting that her agency was helping fast-track the issuance of Certificates of Compliance and Provisional Authorities to Operate biomass power plants in Negros to increase the power for Negros and Panay.
Their short-term solution to the submarine cable problem was to suspend the collection of the congestion cost until the complete restoration and operationalization of the transmission line or until the commission orders a more applicable pricing and settlement solution, she said.
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