DOE says ‘still studying’ proposal to build own power plant

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2023 06:32 PM

Linemen work on tangled electric cables along Agham road in Quezon City on May 31, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday said it is “still studying” the proposal to construct a 500-megawatt power plant that the government can tap during power shortages. 

Former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla had suggested that this power plant could be used during red or yellow alerts due to thin electricity reserves.

But for Energy Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) “does not give the government the right to construct new power plants.” 

“Kasi nga, sinasabi noong ating EPIRA, dapat mga private sector ang magtayo ng mga planta lalo na bilang komersiyo,” Marasigan said during a televised briefing. 

The energy official, however, said they are willing to appeal to Congress to have the law amended. 

“[Ito] ay para payagan na pong muli ang ating gobyerno para makapagtayo ng planta, iyon pong tinatawag nating strategic reserve, puwede po nating gawin iyan,” he said. 

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla earlier said no private investor will put up a power plant if they have no trust in the economy, and they do not have a firm, contract from utilities or cooperatives. 

Lotilla had also called on the public to use energy more efficiently as Luzon faces the possibility of thin electricity reserves that may plunge Metro Manila into blackouts.