ANONG KONEK SA HALALAN? Energy org questions DOE’s management of blackouts

Energy industry safety among topics on security symposia this month

Murang Kuryente Partylist (MKP) has doubts on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ability to ensure that the senatorial and local elections on May 13 will not experience any power interruptions.

Officials of MKPin a briefing on Tuesday said that they are disappointed with the DOE’s seeming inability to manage the country’s generation companies (GenCos) and distribution utilities (DUs) in ordering them to provide affordable and reliable energy to consumers.

“In the whole of 2017, there were only three yellow alerts for the grid. [The year] 2018 had seven yellow alerts for the whole year. Yet in 2019, an election year, there were 10 yellow alerts and even red alerts and April has not even ended yet,” MKP nominee and longtime energy advocate Gerry Arances told Manila Bulletin.

Luzon grid lacked around 1, 367 megawatts (MW) of power as five coal power plants went on forced outage, which are:  SMC Consolidated Power Corporation Limay Unit 2 (150 MW), TeaM Energy Corporation Sual Unit 1 (647 MW), Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation Unit 2, and Pagbilao Energy Corporation Unit 3 (420 MW).

The failures of these power plants will cost the consumers and the economy dearly, said MKP first nominee Anton Paredes.

“A one-hour blackout in Metro Manila already costs the economy roughly P2.7 billion. And this is just from the stoppage of economic activity that requires electricity and does not include second-order effects,” said Paredes.

“Power companies have legal and contractual obligations to provide power at reasonable cost. They are not giving either of them. They don’t respect our laws, perhaps because government agencies are not enforcing these laws,” he added.

Another member of the partylist Glenn Ymata raised his concerns regarding the scheduling of planned shutdowns and the rash of forced outage, which resulted in the power problems the country is experiencing.

“I don’t know of any business that would schedule maintenance during peak season. Maintenance is done before or after peak season, but the logic of our power industry is to do maintenance during peak season because it gets them more profits. This twisted incentive happens because no one stops them or punishes them from exploiting the consumer. This must change.” Ymata said.




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