Consumer group hits Petilla, urges gov’t to build own power plants
MANILA, Philippines—“Why rent when we can own?”
That was the question posted by a consumer group Thursday to Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla after he said that the government may need to rent generators to avert brownouts in the summer of 2015 due to a looming energy crisis.
People Opposed to unWarranted Electricity Rates (POWER) said that instead of renting generators, it would be better for the government to build its own power plants.
“It is ridiculous for government to spend P6 billion in taxpayer’s money to rent bunker or diesel generators that will also make the price of electricity even more prohibitive than it already is. Petilla
wants to hit us with a double whammy. We will be burdened as taxpayer and as consumers,” said POWER convenor and former Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teodoro Casiño.
POWER also shot down President Benigno Aquino III’s suggestion of acquiring emergency powers to contract more power from private firms, stating that the government should instead put up solar, indigenous, and other renewable energy plants which will be operated by the state for 20 to 30 years.
Petilla said Wednesday that the government is considering renting generators with 600 megawatts (MW) capacity worth P6 billion for two years to address the power deficit in 2015 which is projected to be 300 MW to 1000 MW.
“We are considering, through PSALM (state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.), to rent or buy as much as 600 megawatts in generation capacity,” Petilla said in a forum.
Petilla also revealed that the cost of building the same generating sets will cost P10 billion.
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