Power firms fear summer shortage

By Iris Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 28 2014 07:36 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2014 03:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Power generators said it would be difficult to provide up to 500 megawatts in additional capacity next year, which Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said is what the country needs to avert a power crisis.

Petilla proposed the declaration of a state of emergency in the power sector by invoking Section 71 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to give the government the authority to put up additional generation capacity.

“It would be difficult for anyone to put together 500 MW in such a short time. It’s going to be difficult,” according to Ernesto Pantangco, executive vice president of First Gen Corp. and chairman of the energy committee of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP)

Pantangco, however, said power generators have yet to come out with their position on Petilla’s proposal.

He said MAP and the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) are still studying the proposal to invoke Section 71 of the EPIRA.

“We are still consulting with various members,” Pantangco said.

He explained it would be difficult for any power company to come up with an additional capacity of up to 500 MW in time for the summer of 2015 due to delays in permitting and other concerns.

The declaration of a state of emergency would allow the government, through the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) to tap additional power capacity for the summer of 2015.

Petilla said there is a projected deficit of 200 MW for some days of April and May 2015.

Under the plan, the government through PSALM will rent diesel-fired power facilities on short-term contracts of two years if possible.