MANILA – To stop the foreseen power shortage next year, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the resolution granting the emergency powers of President Benigno Aquino III.
At least 149 representatives voted for the granting of Aquino’s emergency powers on third and final reading, while only 18 voted against it with no abstentions.
House Joint Resolution No. 21, which was certified as “urgent” by Aquino last November 27, seeks “to provide for the establishment of additional power generating capacity as mandated by Republic Act No. 9136, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), to effectively address the projected shortage of the supply of electricity in the Luzon grid from March 12 to July 2015.”
Section 71 of the Epira states that “upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity, Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve.”
The resolution was certified as “urgent” because its “immediate passage will adequately resolve this emergency through the expeditious acquisition of additional power generating capacities to be used during the anticipated period of deficient energy supply,” according to Aquino.
Several lawmakers, however, are not convinced about the need for the granting of the president’s emergency powers.
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said that there was no need to pass the resolution, urging the majority bloc to take into consideration other solutions to solve the looming power crisis.
He cited the proposal of a Korean Electric Power Corp.-Philippines (Kepco), a Korean-owned power firm offering to provide 500 MW during the peak months of the power shortage.
However, the resolution stated that “additional generating capacity shall be sourced from the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), fast tracking of committed projects, and plants for interconnection and rehabilitation.”
The maximum estimated shortfall during summer of 2015 reached 1,0004 megawatts (MW), according to the resolution.
Of the said shortfall, 600 MW are needed as required dispatchable reserve, and 404 MW for required contingency reserves.