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PH short by 900 MW next year, says Petilla

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 06:03 AM October 10, 2014
ENERGY Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

ENERGY Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Even as he scouts for possible sources of additional power to avert brownouts in the summer of 2015, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla admitted Thursday that the projected power requirement next year has risen to 900 megawatts (MW).

Petilla on Thursday presented the Senate energy committee with a draft joint resolution authorizing President Aquino to purchase or rent modular generator sets, ask big businesses to supply their own needs, or a combination of both.

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He said the government needed to contract additional generating capacity of from 200 MW to 500 MW next year.

However, Petilla then said that the required capacity has risen to 900 MW, up from 600 MW the first time he appeared before the Senate, because some plants would not be coming on-stream by March 2015.

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“That will even be higher if we count out the 150-MW plant of DMCI (D.M. Consunji Inc.),” he later told reporters.

Some independent power producers (IPPs) had so far promised to provide 450 MW, Petilla said. Which means the Department of Energy (DOE) needed to find the balance from other players and big businesses, he said.

Apart from purchasing or renting generator sets, the DOE was looking into tapping the interruptible power load (ILP), Petilla said.

Under the ILP program, the government can ask big businesses to turn off their connection to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and use their generator sets. Or, he said, government could buy the full generating capacity of these businesses.

Only tip of the iceberg

Petilla said he will be meeting with the executives of ILP participants like Texas Instruments Philippines, Hanjin Heavy Industries and several other big business establishments in pursuit of the ILP option.

But Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, the energy committee chair, remarked that the government has only “touched the tip of the iceberg” where this option is concerned.

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He said there were some 50 ILP players who could take at least 400 MW off the grid from March to June next year to reduce the requirement.

For this reason, Osmeña said he was not inclined to grant such powers to the President, as it would still be cheaper for the government to tap ILP players.

“The committee feels we have sufficient reserves here in the self-generating sets that private individuals or private corporations own. We have as much as 3,163 MW in Luzon alone owned by companies that use it as backup power. That’s quite a lot,” he said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said last week he was inclined to grant the President such authority.

At the House, two party-list lawmakers said they are not convinced that Petilla was giving an accurate picture of the threatened energy crisis in 2015, and the call for emergency powers was premature.

“We oppose emergency powers for President Aquino precisely because not only has Secretary Petilla failed to prove the claimed lack of supply, but also because this shortsighted Band-Aid solution will increase the cost of electricity and will not assure stable energy supply,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in a statement.

“We need long-term solutions, not short-term magic tricks,” the lawmaker said.–With DJ Yap

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TAGS: Energy, Energy Crisis, Jericho Petilla, Philippines, Power crisis, power shortage, Senate
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