Looming shortfall in Luzon power supply feared


Posted at Dec 13 2012 07:20 PM | Updated as of Dec 14 2012 04:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) is urging the government and the private sector to act now to avert a looming shortfall in power supply in Luzon by 2015.

“The price of electricity has always been debated among consumers and business but we need to see the bigger problem we’re facing—the thinning supply of power compared to growing demand. We must realize that the most expensive kind of power is no power. Proposed power projects need to be supported and pushed through,” FPI chairman Jesus Arranza said in a statement.

Based on estimates from the Department of Energy (DoE), three new power plants with a 600-megawatt (MW) capacity each are needed to be online per year from 2015 to 2017 to address the demand.

The Department of Energy’s Philippine Energy Plan states that more than 16,000 MW in capacity is needed until 2030. Currently, the country only has 15,000 MW.

This projection is based on a 4.79-percent annual growth in energy demand. However, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) earlier said demand growth has already reached more than 8% in its franchise area alone covering Metro Manila and nearby regions.

Arranza said the country can’t afford to go back to the years of daily brownouts in the country. He said “the quick band-aid solution, however, also resulted in exorbitant power rates that consumers still suffer from until today.”

He noted there has been opposition to the planned use of fossil fuels. Still, new technologies make such power facilities environmentally-friendly, he claimed.

“If we go all [renewable energy], it’s going to be a more expensive source of energy, so we need to keep a balance of what we can afford, what the consumers can afford and what the environment can afford,” Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla also said.