Petilla open to using Malampaya funds for gensets

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2014 04:08 PM | Updated as of Aug 05 2014 12:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has proposed the use of Malampaya funds to pay for the rental or lease of modular generator sets or power barges if the President decides to invoke Section 71 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) on emergency powers during a crisis or shortage of electricity.

Petilla said that while the government can use part of the Malampaya funds, the consumers will still have to shoulder the fuel cost, which means they will pay for the market price of electricity produced through the rented generators.

Petilla, however, has yet to determine the estimated amount that consumers will have to shoulder.

He said that based on the revised forecast of demand, Luzon needs an additional 600 megawatts to prevent two- to three-hour rotating power interruptions during next year’s summer months.

The President has until early September to decide whether or not to seek Congressional approval for an emergency power.

ILP not entirely the solution

While some sectors are pushing for the interruptible load program (ILP) as the solution to the problem, Petilla said he will not bet on it as the sole solution to the problem.

Petilla said that while it can help, the program is voluntary and entities with generators would want a higher or just compensation for the use of their generators which run on more expensive fuel like diesel.

The Energy Regulatory Commission will have to revise its payment scheme for those that participate in the ILP.

Petilla admits that a power crisis can happen if the situation is not solved soon, but he is also confident that the administration will prevent a repeat of the power outages that had plagued the administration of the late President Cory Aquino in the early 90s.