(TOP-LEVEL DOE MEETING HELD) Celso seeks solutions to Zambo power crisis PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 May 2015 13:34

By Jubels Santos

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jericho Petilla called and presided a top level meeting on Friday morning, May 15, to address and look for solutions to the power crisis in Zamboanga City.

Secretary Petilla acknowledged that said meeting was called upon the urgent request of Congressman Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City, 1st District. It was held at the Office of the Secretary, DOE at the 4th Floor, PNOC Building 5, Energy Center, Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Meeting which began at 10am, lasted for more than 3 hours, ended to past 1pm.

Those in attendance were: Chairman Omar Sahi and General Manager George Ledesma of ZAMCELCO; Administrator Editha Bueno and Deputy Administrator for Electric Distribution Utilities Service Engr. Eduardo Piamonte of NEA and ERC Executive Director Atty. Francis Juan. Other officials of DOE and PSALM were also present. Alsons Energy Development Corporation Vice President for Project Development Joseph Nocos, San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI) plant manager Engr. Archie Donato and SRPI consultant Ruben Conti were also invited.

Petilla gave an update and the DOE staff presented the Mindanao power supply and demand situation. PSALM also presented data on the power generated by PSALM and the nominations to their individual contracts and electric cooperatives.

ZAMCELCO also made its own presentation on the power supply and demand situation of Zamboanga City and their proposed solutions to address the power shortage. Alsons Energy also made its own presentation.

Secretary Petilla also pointed out while there is power shortage in Mindanao, ZAMCELCO is one of the most hardest hit electric cooperative.

Immediate solutions to address the power crisis were discussed. Among others, the hourly nomination of ZAMCELCO to PSALM especially on a non-peak hour. This will immediately shorten the period of brownouts. Another immediate solution was contracting any and all available excess power from power generators throughout Mindanao on a non-firm basis.

NEA was instructed and committed to assist ZAMCELCO in identifying generators with existing capacity.

ERC said that this can be immediately done as long as ZAMCELCO immediately informs ERC of ZAMCELCO’s contract and the rate to be used shall be the same rate as power generators’ supply to their existing contract. Consequently, the long application and approval will be effectively fast-tracked.

With the implementation of some of the short term solutions, it is expected that the number of hours of brownout in Zamboanga City will be shortened in the coming days.

The arrival of ZAMCELCO’s modular generator set was also factored in. The possible need of ZAMCELCO to lease an additional 10MW from other proponents was also another solution put forth.

The medium term solutions of contracting from WMPC and other power generators whose contracts are expiring was also thoroughly discussed. Long term solutions of the construction of the SRPI power plant and the possibility of contracting from other power plants that are being contracted was also discussed.

Upon request of Congressman Lobregat, Secretary Petilla, ERC, NEA and PSALM committed to come to Zamboanga on Thursday, May 21, to meet with various stakeholders to discuss and address the power crisis in Zamboanga City. Congressman Lobregat advised that the venue and time of meeting is being arranged. To be invited in the said meeting are the city government, various business groups, consumer groups, other stakeholders and the media.

It is to be recalled that Congressman Lobregat is the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations tasked to defend the budget of the DOE and energy cluster which include PSALM, ERC and NEA. All of these offices committed to come to Zamboanga City to address the power situation. DOE and NEA committed to assign personnel on a temporary basis to ZAMCELCO to assist ZAMCELCO’s nomination of power to PSALM and other power generators. — Jubels Santos