Probe power supply crisis in Occidental Mindoro, Senate urged
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate should look into possible solutions that would bring an end to the longstanding power crisis in Occidental Mindoro, said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Gatchalian filed on Tuesday Senate Resolution No 576, which calls upon the appropriate committee to conduct a probe that would yield “short, medium and long-term solutions” for the energy problem that had been plaguing the province for years.
“Despite all the announced efforts of various government agencies, the power crisis in Occidental Mindoro has been ongoing for years with no end in sight,” Gatchalian lamented in his resolution.
The legislator cited the latest supply and demand outlook of Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. (Omeco), which shows a power supply deficit in the province of around 15 megawatts throughout the day.
“Due to the power supply deficit, Omeco has been announcing a daily rotational power schedule in the province, with a cluster of towns only getting electricity for three and a half hours in a day,” the resolution reads.
This, it notes, has pushed the provincial council of Occidental Mindoro to declare a state of calamity.
In doing so, its local government is allowed to tap into funds allocated for disasters to respond to the energy crisis.
Gatchalian said Omeco’s management is also at fault for the scarce power supply in Occidental Mindoro.
“For me, it’s a management issue. Importante ang management, gumalaw din. Hindi pwedeng iasa lahat sa gobyerno. Alam naman natin ang kuryente nakadevolve na iyan sa mga electric cooperative so dapat sila ang gumawa ng mga solutions,” he said in a media briefing at the Senate.
(For me, it’s a management issue. The management should also act on this. It shouldn’t solely rely on the government. We know that power to act on electricity concerns is delegated to electric cooperatives so they should take charge in finding the solutions.)
But Omeco had previously pinned the blame for the energy problem in the province on the alleged red tape in National Power Corporation (Napocor) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Gatchalian proposed the following immediate solutions to the power crisis in Occidental Mindoro:
- Temporarily augment power sources in Occidental Mindoro by bringing in generation units from the National Power Corporation (Napocor)
- Have Omeco submit to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) a power supply agreement to contract a supplier under an emergency purchase
In the long run, he said, power supply in the province can be attached to the underground transmission line of Batangas.
In three weeks
Sen. Raffy Tulfo, head of the upper chamber’s energy panel, earlier said the National Electrification Administration (NEA) had vowed to find a solution to the energy crisis in Occidental Mindoro within three weeks.
Tulfo said NEA had sought the go-ahead from the Department of Energy to do an emergency purchase of modular generator sets to be used in the province from Singapore.
The senator had also asked for a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who has yet to fulfill his campaign promise of solving the power supply woes hounding Occidental Mindoro.
Omeco, according to Tulfo, agreed to pass a board resolution asking NEA to approve a P5-million loan to buy bunker fuel that would immediately provide an additional power source in the province.
The NEA had also requested for four modular generators – each with a 2-megawatt capacity – to be transferred from Mindanao as a stopgap solution to the power deficit, Tulfo added.