Estrada son says gov’t keeping hydro plants in disrepair | Inquirer News

Estrada son says gov’t keeping hydro plants in disrepair

09:33 PM November 13, 2012

The clamor for the government to improve, instead of sell, two hydropower facilities in Mindanao is growing louder as another congressman, Rep. JV Ejercito-Estrada, appealed to government to drop plans to privatize the facilities.

In a privileged speech, Ejercito-Estrada, a candidate for senator, said the Agus-Pulangui hydropower facilities are left in a state of disrepair by the government because of the privatization plans.

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Ejercito-Estrada said in his speech that the hydropower facilities are being rendered ineffective because the rivers which supply water to run the facilities’ turbines are heavily silted.

“The obvious solution is to dredge the river system,” Ejercito-Estrada said in his speech. “Unfortunately, the government moves at an exceedingly slow pace,” he said.

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Rep. Teddy Casiño, another candidate for senator, last week appealed to newly appointed Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to prioritize the Mindanao power crisis and act on recommendations made at the Mindanao Power Summit held last April.

Among the recommendations at the summit were for the government to abandon plans to sell the Angus-Pulangui facilities, create a Mindanao Power Corp. to oversee existing and future power plants, use the power barges owned by the National Power Corp. (Napocor) and develop renewable energy sources.

In his speech on Nov. 5, Ejercito-Estrada said the reduced output of the hydropower facilities is the main reason for rotating brownouts in Mindanao. The Angus-Pulangui, he said, generates only a third of its capacity.

Ejercito-Estrada said the hydropower facilities are actually generating revenue for the government because these produce electricity at a cost of less than P1 per kilowatt-hour and sell it for P3 per kWh.

“That is why I don’t understand why Napocor is bent on privatizing these hydroelectric plants,” said Ejercito-Estrada.

“I don’t see how you can generate more electricity by selling off these power plants,” he said.

In a statement, Casiño said the plans to privatize the energy sector in Mindanao are alarming. Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Electricity, Hydropower, Mindanao
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