Petilla to meet with power players to discuss TRO on rate hike
MANILA, Philippines — Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla will meet with power industry players later on Thursday afternoon to around early evening over the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the power rate hike that was supposed to have been staggered starting this month, according to the DOE.
Petilla earlier met with President Aquino to discuss his promised resignation should he fail to light up all of Eastern Visayas by December 25. Petilla has learned that three towns in Eastern Samar were still without power on Christmas Day.
The energy chief’s resignation was rejected by the president.
According to the Department of Energy media affairs group staff, Petilla will go straight from his Palace meeting to the one with the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), power generation firms, and the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (spot market operator) on how to share the higher cost of power, which cannot be collected from consumers for now.
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) said the three towns said to be un-energized as of Christmas morning were Salcedo, Mercedes, and Guiuan of Eastern Samar province. NEA public affairs head Judith T. Alferez clarified that all three were previously connected with the grid but their lines tripped on December 24.
A tree apparently fell on the so-called cross-country lines, which were far from the road side. Alferez said in a text message that Salcedo, Mercedes, and Guiuan have been reconnected to the grid as of Thursday December 26, completing the restoration of the electricity backbone in “Yolanda”-hit areas.
Last November 19, Petilla told reporters in Tacloban that he would quit if he failed to restore power in ravaged areas by December 24.
On Christmas Eve, Petilla said in a phone interview that the last five major towns out of the 257 (as per Department of Energy data) had been re-energized.
On Christmas Day, however, Petilla said he would hand over his resignation to President Aquino on December 26 — the same day he was to meet with power industry players. Apparently, Petilla had found out there were still three towns un-energized and that overnight efforts to light them up had failed.
“I’m not quitting on the people. I’m simply keeping my word which I find is the essence of my being in public service,” Petilla said in a text message late Wednesday. The energy chief declined to comment further, saying he was taking a short break to spend Christmas Day with his family.
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