MANILA — The government is taking a proactive stand in anticipating an impending power shortage in the summer of 2015, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Tuesday.
“The Department of Energy (DOE) anticipates that between March and May of 2015, there could be a possible shortfall of 200 megawatts. On account of which, Secretary Jericho Petilla is proposing an additional capacity of 200 to 300 (megawatts), making a total of 400 to 500 megawatts in new capacity in Luzon and parts of the Visayas,” Coloma said during a press briefing.
Energy Secretary Petilla is proposing that President Benigno S. Aquino III be given emergency powers to address the impending shortage in power supply.
“Ang nililinaw niya (Petilla) ay nagiging proactive lamang siya at ang Department of Energy sa paghahain ng impormasyon na maaaring magkaroon ng shortfall sa summer months na even for a brief period ay hindi ito dapat magdulot ng ligalig sa ating mga mamamayan,” Coloma explained.
Under the existing Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) or Republic Act No. 9136, the private sector has the primary responsibility for providing new generation capacity, and the government may step in only if there is an emergency.
“Hence, he (Petilla) says, there is a need for the government to study at this point whether this course of action is warranted way ahead of the projected time of shortfall,” Coloma said.
The Communications Secretary attributed the impending power shortage to “dynamic” factors, such as an increase in demand for electricity due to economic growth, as well as the “unscheduled breakdowns” of old power plants.
He also noted that the shortfall might be incurred despite the construction of several power plants, which will be operational by the second half of 2015.
Giving the President emergency powers to address the impending power crisis is just one of the options, Coloma said.
“Kaya naman naipanukala niya (Petilla) na ngayon pa lang, habang maaga, pag-aralan na ito para masuri kung ano ang iba’t ibang opsyon,” he added.