Summer of 2015: Expect brownouts

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at Jul 21 2014 10:46 PM | Updated as of Jul 22 2014 06:46 AM

Why Petilla wants PNoy to declare 'power emergency'

MANILA – Looming brownouts in the summer of 2015 prompted Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to recommend to President Aquino the declaration of a state of emergency on the power situation.

Petilla said there is a projected insufficient supply of power in the months of April and May next year that may trigger rotating brownouts that may last for two hours.

“Hindi ko naman sinasabing malawakan ito, kasi pwedeng one to two hours lang ito pero mayroon pa rin and we’re trying to avert that. Kasi any form of brownout, ito lang ngang Glenda nawalan na ng kuryente sangkatutak na reklamo tayo lahat,” he told dzMM on Monday.

Petilla said energy officials had to adjust the power outlook for 2015 due to unforeseen events that significantly affect supply in the coming years.

“‘Yung mga plant outages, ‘yung mga hindi inaasahan na aberya ay biglang dumami. Eh fina-factor in namin ‘yan. So biglang kumonti ang supply natin sa ating projection,” the energy secretary said.

“Mayroong ibang mga planta na sa 2013 ay nilagay namin na matatapos by 2014 and 2015, pero sa aming analysis ay hindi matatapos kaya tinanggal muna namin for 2015. At the same time, ang projection natin sa paggamit ng kuryente ay talagang mahihirapan,” he added.

He noted that in 2014, the Department of Energy’s demand projection was short by 100 megawatts.

Petilla also said that giving the President emergency powers to deal with the situation will open doors for more power plants to be built through contracts with private firms.

“Hindi naman ako pwede magtayo ng planta at hindi naman ako pwede mangontrata unless ang Presidente ay pinayagan ng Kongreso at Senado na mangontrata ang gobyerno,” he explained.

Petilla said discussions on the power situation may resume after the President’s State of the Nation Address on July 28, adding that the President is open to the recommendation if there are no other options.

“Tinitignan ko ay wala na akong makitang solusyon other than ang gobyerno ay pumasok sa pangongontrata,” said Petilla.

Under the Electricity Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), the government is prohibited from venturing into the generation of electricity as this is supposedly reserved only for the private sector.

But section 71 of the law provides that the President can declare an emergency and ask the House of Representatives and the Senate for a joint resolution that will authorize him to implement some measures to generate more electricity supply.