EPIRA is to blame for Mindanao power crisis , says group
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Blame the Energy Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), not us, the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives said in reaction to President Aquino’s statement blaming them for the rotating power brownouts in Mindanao.
“We respect his view but it is not his (the President’s) nor our fault that we have power crisis in Mindanao,” said Sergio Dagooc, Amreco president.
“This is largely the effect of EPIRA. He (the President) said the rotating brownouts are largely a power generation issue, caused by the provision in the EPIRA, which does not allow government to put up additional power generation capacity, as usual,” he said.
Dagooc said that even the modular generation set program that the government has been offering to electric cooperatives to anticipate the power crisis failed to work because the long bureaucratic process to avail of the project has been discouraging most electric cooperatives.
“The President should know that the long process in which electric cooperatives can avail of Executive Order 137 is hampering the immediate solution to the crisis,” he said.
President Aquino has expressed exasperation over the failure of most electric cooperatives to avail of the program, and those who do are still lining up their applications.
“I am proposing that instead of finger-pointing, they should help resolve the issues we raised about the long delay because the problem lies not within our control,” said Dagooc, adding he had already raised the issue before the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee.
Aside from the long bidding process and then the loan approval from the National Electrification Authority (NEA), it would take 90 to
120 days for electric cooperatives to install the units, Dagood said. But then, after the units are installed, electric cooperatives still have to apply for approval before the Energy Regulation Commission, before they can start running the new modular generation sets, according to Dagooc, adding the ERC approval also “takes years.”
“For now, I am proposing that the government use the fund already in the hands of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to buy the modular generation sets and supply them to the electric cooperatives.
“Ngayon kasi may mga (Right now there are already some) generation sets that are installed but they cannot run because they have not been approved by the Energy Regulation Commission,” he said.
Under Executive Order 137, or the modular generation sets initiatives for Mindanao, government has set aside P4.5 billion from the Malampaya funds to be lent out to electric cooperatives to purchase modular generation sets.
Dagooc said some P2 billion of the total fund has already been downloaded to NEA.
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