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Escudero to presidential aspirants: Bare energy dev’t plans

/ 09:10 PM November 21, 2021
no brownouts for polls

NGCP power lines (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — A clear energy agenda should be one of the next administration’s top priorities, said Sorsogon Governor and senatorial aspirant Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Sunday as he urged presidential aspirants to bare their plans for the country’s energy development.

In a statement, Escudero said that this is to ensure that the country will be able to avert an energy crisis as well as to build a long-term strategy for a stable and sustainable energy supply amid the Philippine economy’s reopening and recovery from the pandemic.

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“Nitong panahon ng pandemya, maraming lugar pa rin ang nakaranas ng brownout. Paano pa kaya kung tuluyan nang magbukas ang ekonomiya ng bansa?” Escudero said.

(During the pandemic, many areas still experienced brownouts. What if the country’s economy continues to open up?)

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“This early, whoever is aspiring to steer this country after this administration should make public their energy and power development program,” he added.

Citing data from the Department of Energy, Escudero said that power consumption across the country dropped by 4.04% to 101,756 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2020, largely due to the Luzon-wide lockdown that shut down business operations in the region.

But in contrast, residential consumption jumped to 34,292 GWh from 2019’s 30,552 GWh as most were forced to stay at home.

“Matagal nang problema ang kakulangan sa kuryente. Taun-taon na lang kada panahon ng tag-init, kada summer months ay sinasalanta tayo ng brownout pero mataas pa rin ang singil sa kuryente,” said Escudero.

(Power shortages have long been a problem. Every year during the summer, we are plagued by brownouts but the electricity bills are still high.)

“Hopefully, mabigyan na ito ng pangmatagalan at permanenteng solusyon (this will be addressed a long-term and permanent solution,” he added.

Meanwhile, citing another study by Australian think tank International Energy Consultants, Escudero also said that the average electricity rate for residential customers in the Philippines (P8.36 per kWh) was the second most expensive in Asia after Japan (P12.31 per kWh).

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He further noted that Meralco, the country’s largest private power distributor servicing 7 million customers, has announced recently that typical households in Metro Manila would see an increase of P65 in their monthly this November for a 200-kWh consumption, driven by higher generation charges.

This brings the overall rate for November to P9.4630 per kWh, up by P0.3256 per kWh from October.

Escudero then suggested another way to address this issue, to come up with a new legislation that will support the Updated Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2018-2040, which has remained pending in both the Senate and the House of Representatives since it was submitted in May 2020.

The revised PEP, said Escudero, contains adjustments in light of recent global developments, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now that we are trying to recover from the pandemic as we move to the new normal, our resolve to attain power sufficiency should all the more be intensified,” said Escudero.

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/MUF

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TAGS: 2022 elections, Chiz Escudero, Elections, Electricity, Energy
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