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Osmeña backs moves to use Malampaya funds for ILP to avert power shortage

/ 09:49 PM October 21, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Sergio Osmeña III said on Tuesday he would support moves to authorize President Benigno Aquino III to use P1 billion in Malampaya gas royalty funds to support the interruptible load program (ILP), rather than giving him more powers to establish additional generating capacity.

Under the ILP, businesses can be reimbursed for expenses in using their own generating facilities, thus freeing up distribution utilities to serve other customers.

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Earlier, Osmeña said the Malampaya fund could not be used to rent or acquire generator sets to avert an expected power supply shortage in the summer of 2015. He noted that the Electric Power Industry Reform Act was approved to prohibit the government from interfering in the power industry.

There is thus no need for a joint resolution giving the President the additional powers, according to Osmeña.

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He’d rather have a resolution to use part of the Malampaya funds for the ILP. But he plans to discuss the matter with the other senators first.

Senator Sergio Osmeña III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senator Sergio Osmeña III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

“Actually, there’s no need anymore for a resolution because there is no need for the government to import, or for the government to lease new generating plants and set … If there’s a resolution that we will pass, it is a resolution to authorize the President to use P1 billion of the Malampaya fund to subsidize the participant in the ILP,” he said.

According to Osmeña, the Senate Energy Committee chair, up to 1,000 megawatts could be tapped from the ILP, out of the 3,000 MW that could be obtained from generating sets in the Luzon area.

Five hundred megawatts are expected from new power plants being constructed.

“So with 1,500 MW, it looks like we would be okay,” he added.

Osmeña also said the Department of Energy’s constantly changing numbers with regard to the power supply has been confusing people.

But in actuality, he said the country would really be short on power reserves. The country has 20 percent reserves, but at any one time, 10 percent of the plants are either down or on maintenance.

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“So we really need reserves so that we will not experience brownouts,” he said.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Business, Electric Power Industry Reform Act, Electricity production and distribution, electricity supply shortage, Epira, ILP, Interruptible Load Program, Legislation, Malampaya gas funds, Philippine Congress, Philippine president, power shortage, resolution, Senate, Serge Osmeña III
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