House on critical situation to decide on Meralco PSAs, lawmaker says

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A lawmaker has called on the Congress to expedite their decision on the seven (7) power supply agreements of the Manila Electric Co (Meralco) that are allegedly involved in “midnight deals” with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

In a House hearing on Wednesday, Minority floor leader Danilo Suarez said that they “must take action already to ensure affordable and reliable electricity.”

“We cannot stop growth. And growth means electricity,” Suarez stressed.

He also expressed that the House is in a critical situation to make a decision on the seven PSAs being discussed.

“It is a critical time for us to make a crucial decision at a time like this because we cannot really prolong on an applicant who would like to put up this money to invest in power plants,” Suarez said.

He added that an investment of almost P102 billion to put up a 1000 megawatt (MW) power plant is good for the country.

Suarez was referring to the Atimonan One Energy Incorporated project worth 1,020 MW which is one of the seven PSAs being investigated by the House Committee on Good Government and Accountability and Committee on Energy.

House Committee on energy chairman Lord Velasco said that the country needs more power plants as power demand is increasing 4.9 percent (600 megawatts) annually.

“We cannot keep delaying these projects as we need the stability of energy supply. If there are shutdowns by these old plants, that will mean a spike in prices. We need to stop pointing fingers and putting malice, and already start these new projects,” he said.

The lawmaker added that around 20 percent of the existing power plants are more than 30 years old.

Meanwhile, citizens from Atimonan, Quezon has called on the ERC to approve the PSA of the Atimonan power plant.

“The power plant in Atimonan will bring new jobs and livelihood means which our community needs. We are hoping that ERC will look at this and act based on what we currently need to bring progress to Atimonan. We are urging them to decide on the supply agreement so we can start building a new Atimonan that will benefit not just the province, but the entire country,” Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Balubad, Lubi, Talaba at Kilait (SMM BALTAK) chairman Greg de Gracia said during their rally in front of the ERC office.

The other PSAs involved in the alleged midnight deals include the Redondo Peninsula Energy Incorporated (225 MW); St. Raphael Power Generation Corp. (528 MW); Central Luzon Premiere Power Corporation (528 MW); Mariveles Power Generation Corporation (528 MW); Panay Energy Development Corporation (70 MW); and Global Luzon Energy Development Corporation (600 MW).

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