Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Duterte administration to look for alternative energy sources to expand the country’s power supply, as power outages can cost the country P3.3 billion.
“Widespread power outages across Luzon would bring national economic productivity to a standstill. The Duterte administration must look into immediately expanding the power supply by tapping new energy resources,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
The Senate Committee on Energy chair said that the government must immediately address the unstable power supply as the Luzon-wide power outage may cost an estimated P3.3 billion in economic productivity per hour, computation from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) statistics said.
Gatchalian has committed to improve the functionality of Wholesale Electric Spot Market (WESM), saying that both the WESM and the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) have the potential in monitoring trends and market fluctuations in the energy sector for the public’s benefits.
“PEMC and WESM can provide us with the information necessary to detect collusion and other forms of non-competitive behavior in the market. Their information can prove instrumental in protecting the interests of Filipino consumers,” the senator said.
The senator has said that stabilizing the country’s energy supply will be one of his priorities, and has promised to work with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi in establishing a policy and legal framework that would lead the addition of new resources to the Philippines’ energy mix.
“We need to redouble our efforts to explore and exploit new indigenous energy resources, such as the abundant natural gas reserve in Reed Bank,” Gatchalian said, adding that the country’s economic development will depend on ‘cheap and reliable electricity.’
“Electricity is an integral part of contemporary Filipino life. Making reliable electricity more affordable will improve the lives of millions of Filipinos,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Ralph G. Recto called for a full-blown investigation in the power situation of the Luzon grid to determine the cause of the simultaneous shutdown of six power plants which led to blackouts in Luzon in July.