Petilla disagrees that PH power woes will worsen

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2014 07:39 PM | Updated as of May 22 2014 03:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla disagrees with the assessment of the Aboitiz group that the power situation will be worse until 2017 or 2018 due to the delays in the construction of power plants in Luzon.

One of these plants is the 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant project of Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. in Subic, which was stopped by the court due to protests from environmental groups.

While he agrees with the Aboitiz group that the delays will affect the overall supply, Petilla said there are others plants that will be finished by the end of 2014.

These include the 275-megawatt expansion of Pagbilao and Calaca plants by late 2014 with an undermined additional megawatts for the expansion of the second unit in 2015.

By the end of the third quarter of 2014, the Lopez group-initiated wind power project in Ilocos with a capacity of 78-megawatts will also be online.

Another 20-megawatt wind power project and a 60 to 70-megawatt UPC wind power project will rise also in Ilocos.

By March 2015, the Lopez-owned 100-megawatt Avion power plant will also come online, said Petilla.

Petilla also said the Department of Energy (DOE) is doing its best to raise the country's energy supply vis-a-vis the demand which is projected to spike by 600 megawatts every year due to growing businesses and household demand.

"Inaayos naman natin eh, I don't have the monopoly on ideas... It's easy to say it’s expensive but how do we make it cheaper? We welcome ideas," he said.

Petilla said he has come up with a department order that will create a task force that will discuss ways to strengthen the power sector.

On the issue of delay, Petilla said the DOE will recommend to Congress a law that will exempt projects of national importance, like for instance a power plant, from the permitting process to lessen the delays.