MANILA -- Senator Serge Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, said the government might as well close down the Malaya power plant in Rizal if it remains on "shut down."
During the Senate Committee on Energy's investigation into the power rate hike Thursday, Osmeña questioned the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) why it chose not to run the Malaya plant in order to increase supply, which would help lower electricity prices at the spot market.
PSALM officials said during the hearing on Thursday that running the old plant would be too costly.
"Namamahalan kasi sila, lugi pag pinapatakbo ang lumang-lumang planta na yun. E bakit pa binigyan ng operations and maintenance contract na P600 million, para i-manage ng private sector, kung hindi naman gagamitin? I-close down mo na," Osmeña said.
The plant, he said, could have provided an additional 300 megawatts of power which would lead to lower prices at the spot market.
"Maski 300 megawatts lamang, nakaiwas tayo ng P62 per kilowatt hour (ceiling price)," Osmeña said.
"Nagpagawa ako ng sensitivity graph sa mga presyo (ng kuryente). Ang nakita ko, siguro if we had just added another 300 megawatts to the supply, yung pricing hindi aabot ng P62, P12 lamang. So malaking bagay yun kasi very sensitive sa shortage itong WESM o Wholesale Electricity Spot Market," Osmeña said.
He explained that the breakdown of five power plants in the country in a span of 30 days during November to December in 2013, which were all "accidental," led to the shortage of power supply.
Osmeña also said the secretary of energy should be made accountable for "any emergency" in the electric power industry.
"He's the big boss," Osmeña said. -- Reports from DZMM