Power interruption also hits Palace

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2014 03:11 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2014 11:11 PM

MANILA - Amid rotating blackouts in Mindanao, Malacanang was also hit with power interruptions on Tuesday.

Electricity went off twice during this morning’s oath taking rites for 49 officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the Rizal Hall.

Electricity got cut the first time during rehearsals for the photo opportunity before the arrival of President Aquino.

The second time was during the program when each of the families of the officers who took their oaths before Aquino was having individual photo sessions.

The President didn't seem to mind the power interruption and patiently waited for power to be restored.

Back-up lights at the Rizal Hall ensured that the area was not totally dark. The main lights came on in a matter of minutes.

Later on, Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma explained that the interruption was a mere technical problem.

“Nag-brownout panandalian , kalagitnaan ng picture taking nagbawas ng ilang ilaw. Walang dapat ipag-alala. Walang relasyon sa mas malaking problema sa enerhiya,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coloma said the energy situation in Mindanao remains a focus of the Department of Energy (DOE).

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla is being called the secretary of “darkness” in social media for his failure to address the energy problem in Mindanao.

He said the power problem in Mindanao can be blamed on the energy mix in the island.

Around 50% of Mindanao’s power comes from hydroelectric plants, which are old and seasonal, he said. Only 37% are supplied by base load coal fire plants, he added.

He said that the hydroelectric plants are at least 30 years old and need high maintenance. These are also not very reliable because of climate change.

The fixed electricity rate in Mindanao also does not encourage more investments in the power industry.