Aquino to seek additional powers amid energy deficit | Inquirer News

Aquino to seek additional powers amid energy deficit

/ 01:19 PM September 11, 2014
Benigno Aquino III

President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Anticipating the power shortages next year, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday announced that he will be seeking additional powers to address the problem.

“Very soon, we will formally ask Congress for a joint resolution, that will authorize the national government to contract an additional generating capacity to address the 300-megawatt projected deficit, and, on top of that, to have sufficient regulating reserves equivalent to four percent of peak demand, for another 300 megawatts,” he said during the launch of the 420-megawatt Pagbilao III Power Plant held in Makati City.

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However, he assured the business sector that government intervention will only address the power shortage.

“We have no plans of intervening to distort the market or complicate the situation even further,” he explained.

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Aquino said that while “at a casual glance, it might seem as if we are in a good position” when it comes to energy — with 1,799.52 megawatts of new and recommissioned plants added to the supply, resulting in a total dependable capacity of 15,466 megawatts — the country faces the problem of outages during peak months.

“Forced power-plant outages have been observed to rise especially in the summer months, coinciding with the periods of peak demand. This situation results in quite thin reserves, particularly in Luzon,” he said.

Aquino explained that many other factors affect the performance of power plants, including weather, delays in construction and legal challenges.

“On top of this, part of our current supply comes from plants running beyond their maximum age—for instance, Agus 6 in Mindanao, which was originally designed to have only a 30-year lifespan, has now been running for more than twice as long,” he said.

The said problems is projected to affect Luzon and to result in a “possible shortage” of up to 300 megawatts in the summer of 2015.

“I am told that the worst case scenario even involves a shortage of around a 1000 megawatts,” Aquino said.

He assured the public that the government has been closely monitoring the situation and that it “cannot be complacent.”

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“After all, should there be a shortage, it is our people who will bear the brunt of the burden—and no amount of excuses or explanations will be able to temper the anger of the public,” he said.

The President said that in addition to the additional powers, the Department of Energy has also rolled out an Interruptible Load Program (ILP) which gives incentives to certain customers who disconnect to the grid to use their generators.

He said the ILP was a voluntary program and had in the past generated 142 megawatts with only 71 megawatts as dependable output.

“And of  course 71 megawatts is significant, but is obviously still very far from addressing even the best case scenario of having a minimum power deficiency by next year,” he said, adding the the DOE will continue to convince more companies to participate in the ILP.

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Originally posted: 12:54 pm | Thursday, September 11th, 2014

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Congress, Government, Legislation, Power crisis
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