MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares wants the Palace to justify the pitch for emergency powers for President Aquino purportedly to deal with the looming 2015 energy crisis.
Colmenares doubts Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla’s claims that there will be a shortage in electricity supply by next year.
"Is there are a dearth of supply? Bakit sinabi ng DOE kulang ng supply based sa report nila dati may enough supply to meet demands? Dependable supply, 15,000 megawatts all over country di umabot ng 11,000-12,000 MW demand.Saan nanggaling idea ni Petilla? Unless DOE can justify dearth of supply, all talk of emergency powers is useless. No congress in his right mind will approve kung walang emergency," he said.
Colmenares added any emergency power granted will be unconstitutional and illegal. "DOE has to convince people there’s a lack of supply," he said.
He pointed out that there was no shortage even after the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility.
Colmenares expressed fears that the emergency powers may lead to an increase in electricity rates with the possible return of "take or pay" provisions in supply contracts.
The Ramos administration in the 1990s agreed to the controversial provision which guaranteed independent power producers payment for electricity they produce, even if unused. This lead to high power rates in the country — one of the highest in Asia.
Colmenares said said based on DOE figures as of 2013, the installed capacity for Luzon grid is: 12,790MW and dependable capacity is: 11,469MW. The peak demand for the grid is just at 8,700 plus, during summer, and the portion of Meralco is at 6,121MW (based on 2014 figures).
Colmenares also held out the possibility there is a possible collusion to affect the supply.
"Secondly, is it really supply that is a problem or there are other factors that prevent some capacities from being dispatched, like the supposed collusion between power industry players last year? Up till now the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has yet to submit their investigation on the matter," he said.
"Thirdly, one unit of the 650-MW Malaya plant (that's 300MWs plus) is down-- when can the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM). Bring it back to operation so it can contribute to 2015 summer supply?"