Aquino on power crisis: Share burden
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino told power distributors in Mindanao to “share the burden” of more expensive electricity from power barges—apparently the only solution to the Mindanao power crisis for the next two years.
Mr. Aquino said two power barges were already in Mindanao but only one was contributing to the power grid.
Asked how power distributors could be convinced to buy the more expensive electricity generated by the diesel-fired power barges, Mr. Aquino said, “(They) will have to share the burden.”
More electricity is being used in the area than what the power distributors there have contracted to buy from power generators, President Aquino had earlier explained.
Power distributors have yet to air their side. Meanwhile, business and industry in Mindanao are reeling from two- to four-hour daily brownouts due to a power shortage. Even Philippine Airlines (PAL) had to cancel some flights due to the lack of landing lights in southern airports.
Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the earliest they could set up new power facilities (coal-fired plants) in Mindanao would be 2014.
Almendras, who was with President Aquino for the meeting on the Mindanao power situation, said the Mindanao users would simply have to order more power from the barges.
He said the shortage would run through 2012 and 2013.
Despite objections from environmentalists, Almendras said two plants expected to be operational by 2014 were coal-fired ones, which could generate electricity cheaper than the diesel-fueled barges.
Almendras said cleaner hydropower plants may not be viable in the long term as the changing rainfall patterns in Mindanao due to climate change might affect its operations.
With things as they are, even the aviation industry has been affected by the power crisis in Mindanao.
On Saturday, flag carrier PAL canceled an afternoon flight from Manila to Zamboanga City due to power failure at the Zamboanga Airport.
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