'Heads must roll': Gatchalian seeks Senate probe into Luzon brownouts


Posted at Apr 13 2019 02:46 PM

MANILA — The unexpected brownouts that hit several parts of Luzon this week were "unacceptable," Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said, as he sought a Senate inquiry into the Energy department's alleged inaccurate forecast that took consumers by surprise.

"The brownouts felt by our constituents in Luzon these past few days is totally unacceptable," Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on energy, said in a statement Saturday. 

He said the Department of Energy (DOE) had assured stakeholders that there was ample electricity reserve throughout the dry season.

The Luzon grid has been on red alert on and off this week according to reports by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), triggering rotational brownouts of 1 to 2 hours in some areas.

"Definitely, heads must roll this time. We owe it to the power consumers to give them accurate information on the power situation in the country. Mukhang na-overestimate ng DOE ang available capacity ng kuryente natin (It appears the DOE has overestimated Luzon's available power capacity)," the senator said.

Gatchalian said the Senate investigation would examine the DOE’s "inaccurate electricity forecast" for the summer season, during which demand increases, and its "contingency measures in case of unexpected power interruptions."

“Our power consumers deserve nothing but accurate information. Ang DOE ang pangunahing ahensya na dapat nagbibigay ng wasto at sapat na impormasyon upang makapaghanda ang ating mga kababayan. Kaso mukhang na-fake news tayo ng DOE sa pagkakataon na ito,” he said.

(The DOE is the principal agency in charge of handing out accurate power information so that consumers can be prepared. But it seems like we've been victimized by DOE's fake news.)

Meanwhile, Gatchalian reiterated his call to DOE to remain vigilant on possible collusion due to thin electricity reserves in the midst of high demand.

Meralco, the country's largest power distributor that operates in Luzon, earlier said the situation on Saturday and Sunday could be "better" with power demand expected to fall by 15 to 20 percent compared to weekdays.

Power interruptions earlier this week came amid continuing rotational water outages in parts of Metro Manila amid concessionaire Manila Water's limited supply. 

On Friday, some areas reported having both no power and water for a few hours.