Lawmaker urges Congress to fast track solution to looming power crisis

By , on October 7, 2014

Sen. Benigno "Bam" Aquino. Photo from Aquino's official Facebook page.
Sen. Benigno “Bam” Aquino. Photo from Aquino’s official Facebook page.

MANILA – A neophyte lawmaker urged both Houses of Congress — the Senate and the House of Representatives — to fast track solution to looming power crisis.

Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said it is high time for Congress to pass a resolution that would address power shortage so as not to hamper the booming economy of the country.

He said the most affected sector are the manufacturing sector and the business process outsourcing (BPO) who have contributed billions of pesos in revenues.

Aquino, a known entrepreneur advocate, said the country stands to lose more than Php80 billion in potential income — or 1.2 percent of last year’s gross domestic product (GDP) of Php6.76 trillion — should the government failed to address the expected power outage.

Although there is already an assurance from Senate President Franklin Drilon that the joint Congressional committee are motivated to give President Benigno Aquino III the needed additional power to address the looming power crisis by the first semester of 2015, they need to discuss the magnitude of needed power or just specifics.

When Congress resumes session on Oct. 20, representatives from both Houses will meet to resolve the projected power shortage by 2015 and hopefully come up with a solution before they go on their traditional All Saint’s Day break.

There is a 300-megawatt (MW) deficit but Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla recommended an additional capacity of 500 MW as buffer in case the shortage becomes bigger.

One of the short term solution, Aquino said, the government can tap private establishments through the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) for additional power supply.

Aquino said members of the Makati Business Club met last week to determine how much power can be made available from the generating sets owned by private businesses under the ILP and how much they will charge.

Another solution, the senator said, is for Congress to grant the President emergency power which is allowed under the existing EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) Law.