Recto inclined to grant Pres. Aquino emergency powers to solve looming energy crisis

By , on October 13, 2014

Sen. Ralph Recto. Facebook photo
Sen. Ralph Recto. Facebook photo

MANILA – Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said on Monday he is in favor of granting President Benigno S. Aquino III emergency powers to solve the impending energy crisis next year.

”We are continuously studying the matter. If you ask me whether I’m inclined, of course, naturally I’m inclined to support the President. If there will be brownouts next year, that’s alarming,” Senator Recto said in an interview with the Senate media.

Recto, however, said he would like to clarify with Department of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla about the actual power shortage during summer next year.

”The number is too big. In their (DOE) presentation, from 900 megawatts. Worst case, it can reach 1,500 MW. So let’s clarify that,” the senator said.

Recto said he would also listen to Senator Sergio Osmena III, the Senate Energy committee chairman, who earlier said there is no need to grant the President emergency powers.

Osmena has insisted that there are other options to solve the looming power crisis, including the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

Under the ILP, big industrial and commercial customers who have the ability to produce their own electricity through generating sets should cut off or reduce their supplied electricity, particularly during peak periods of the day, and instead use their own generator sets.

This would allow adequate supply of electricity to other customers who might need it than commercial users. The businesses are also required to contribute their excess energy reserves. But the program is only voluntary, and thus government cannot compel businesses to participate.

”Senator Osmena says there might be a market distortion among other things. So let’s listen to the chairman also. Will the ILP work? I’m not sure if they’ve done that in the past,” Recto said.

Recto, however, remains cautious about the possible risk that the President will get if he will be granted emergency powers to purchase additional generating capacity.

”There is a risk for the President to ask for emergency powers. Can you imagine if Congress will grant it and there is still brownout. The blame would still be on him. But if they will not grant, they will tell us that we warned you so. So we will listen to the actual numbers,” he said.

Recto said he also favors granting the President a power to tap the Malampaya funds to purchase additional generating capacity.