Dwindling supply of electricity and water PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:20

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

 

Due to the enormity and complexity of the problem and its grave effects upon the denizens of the city, including its business and industry, some readers compelled me to revisit the issue of blackouts for clarity. Questions, as to the discriminatory and selfish attitude of national Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), manifested by its inaction to provide, as a transmission grid operator, power producers open and non-discriminatory access to the transmission system to be distributed to all electricity users it cannot serve for the meantime, need further explanation.

Under RA No. 9136, the primary mandate of NGCP is to provide open and non-discriminatory access to the transmission system to all electricity users. It is a private entity, partly owned by Chinese capitalists, that is in-charge of the distribution of electricity in the country. If I may recall, the constitutionality of its takeover in managing the national grid has been questioned during President GMA’s term. Our constitution prohibits foreigners from engaging in the business of vital public utilities, like electricity distribution. How and why it was chosen by Transco, the government entity that owns the grid, to engage in such very vital task is beyond me.

NGCP has exhibited grave abuse of its position as a transmission grid operator and is the major reason why electric producers cannot deliver its contractual commitments relative to their respective contractual capacities. Take for instance the case of electricity producer, Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC). It has constructed its Phase II project to provide the delivery of power to around three (3) million people from Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Dapitan, Dipolog, Pagadian, Digos Koronadal, Kidapawan, and other key areas of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur. These areas expect to have power from SEC to commence by January 15, 2019.

In order to meet its timetable, SEC has to ensure that every aspect of its Phase II project is completed on time, including the completion of the connection to the grid. It has been requesting the NGCP that it will be allowed to install the necessary facilities to connect its Phase II project to the grid. Unfortunately, the request has been pending with the NGCP for fifteen (15) months already despite SEC’s compliance with all applicable rules and regulations and repeated requests for action on the part of NGCP.

The delay in its connection to the grid has greatly affected the commencement of its commercial operations. Its customers have considered its Phase II supply in their supply projections. If delayed, SEC’s customers will suffer considerable power shortages, to include our city electric cooperative which is also purchasing power from SEC.

Should NGCP continues to disregard its mandate to provide open and non-discriminatory access to the grid, continuous brownouts will remain and it will set a dangerous precedent that will unsettle the entire power industry. Urgent and immediate intervention of the Department of Energy (DOE) must be done so that the rights and interests of the electricity consumers and business industries in Mindanao, to include our city, be protected.

On the other hand, after a long hiatus, the sun is now exacting its vengeance and is wrecking great havoc to thousands of hectares of agricultural lands and diminishing our water supply of potable and safe drinking water. Just the other day, the ZCWD has announced the probable imposition of water rationing due to the declining water supply in its reservoir.

Such a situation reminds me of the late Mayor Vitaliano Agan, who broached the idea of building a water dam in the West Coast to cater to the burgeoning residents and business establishments/industries in the city. Unfortunately, such plan simply died out with the death of the late Mayor.

Our elected local leaders, who I presumed must have their acumen, should consider reviving this project to provide potable water to the city’s growing populace. This water dam is our guarantee that even during hot summer months we are all assured and guaranteed safe and potable water.

MISCELLANEOUS: My deepest condolence to the family of my dear friend, Architect Ben Gonzales, who passed away the other day. May God grant him eternal rest and peace.