(Energy czar presents solutions to blackouts)URGES ZAMCELCO TO ACT NOW PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 May 2015 11:58

By BHONG SIMBAJON

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla yesterday urged the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) to adopt emergency measures and exhaust all possible means to resolve the pestering power crisis that has crippled Zamboanga City,

During a power forum organized by Congressman Celso Lobregat held at local hotel to address the crisis,  Secretary Petilla presented the best and short term options which he described as “taking risk” at a high price by Zamcelco.

Petilla gave the impression that Zamcelco can solve the power crisis and eliminate blackouts if the cooperative officials really want to do it as most electric consumers are puzzled why blackouts continue when short and long term solutions are available as revealed by Petilla.

“These options are very painful, but if Zamcelco wants to survive now, it has to bite the bullet, enter into power contracts now and not tomorrow, do not rely 100 percent on PSALM, the Agus-Pulangi is getting unreliable as years go by,” Petilla stressed.

What the energy secretary is saying is for Zamcelco to exhaust all efforts to  get short and long term contracts with all available independent power producers in the Mindanao grid to resolve its present power supply problem.

Petilla said the actions should be done by the cooperative with sense of urgency as the power situation in the entire Mindanao will continue to persist in the coming years even as the government is left with lesser options and will not venture into power business in the future, instead to start to move into privatization of government subsidized power plants.

“The options are there, but it has to be decided upon by Zamcelco, This problem cannot go on forever, you can sign a contract with many companies, nobody is stopping you... get a partner, get options for your solution,” Petilla said.

The secretary said the resolution of this problem will not happen overnight, but there are options on the table which can be picked by Zamcelco and take the risk to save the city in its present power problem, not unless if they want to enter into a Private Sector Partnership (PSP).

“There are lessons learned for the cooperative in its past experiences, but you cannot point fingers as of now, your only complain if you have corresponding solution,”Petilla said.

The secretary said he is fully aware of the huge debt of the cooperative to power providers like PSALM for example, to which the cooperative has payables of about P1 billion which is almost reaching the category of an ailing cooperative in the standard of energyagencies like ERC,NEA and DOE.

Petilla revealed that the available power generators that have excess capacities in Mindanao are the following: King Energy-Misamis Orienta -l- 0.9MW; King Energy-Tandag SDS — 2.1MW; Mapalad Energy Generating Corp — 1.25MW; and PSC Philippine Sinter Corporation — 7MW, or a total of 9.25 to 11.25MW is available for Zamcelco’s short term options.

At present, DOE has agreed to the emergency measure of the so-called Power Supply Offsetting (PSO) to help Zamboanga City with its present power problem with the following conditions for a short term solution: PSALM will free the equivalent energy requirement in favor of Zamcelco,  cost of power will be paid  at the ERC approved rate,and NEA will facilitate the protocol in Zamcelco. The target of implementation of this measure is for the month of May 26 to  July 2015.

Petilla said that since power is a primary commodity nowadays electricity is very vital to highly urbanized cities like Zamboanga.

“Liberating the power industry is to have a market-driven power industry. If we want sustainable power industry, we have to pay the price for it,” Petilla said. – Bhong Simbajon-RMN News