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Petilla downplays Aquino bid for ‘additional powers’

/ 07:02 PM September 11, 2014

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla on Thursday downplayed public concern sparked by President Benigno Aquino III’s request for additional powers to address the looming power shortage during the next summer season.

At the sidelines of the Joint Congressional Power Commission in the House of Representatives, Petilla said Aquino only wanted to contract additional capacity for 2015.
The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) allows emergency powers to the President “upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity.”

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“Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve,” Section 71 of the law reads.

“The President is not saying, ‘Give me emergency powers.’ He’s just saying, ‘Give me authority to contract additional capacity for 2015’,” Petilla said.

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“The reason everybody is apprehensive with Section 71 is because it becomes equivalent to emergency when it’s just an authority to contract,” he added.

Aquino earlier announced that he would 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,” Aquino said during the launch of the 420-megawatt Pagbilao III Power Plant in Makati City.

However, Aquino 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,” Aquino explained.

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TAGS: additional power, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Energy Crisis, Epira, Jericho Petilla
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