Celso asks ERC to expedite hearing on power purchase PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 15:46

Mayor Celso Lobregat is closely coordinating with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in Manila to expedite the conduct of a hearing pertaining to the proposal of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (ZAMCELCO) to purchase power from a private supplier as a mitigating measure to the looming energy crisis.

Initially, the mayor contacted ERC chairperson Atty. Zenaida G. Cruz-Ducut Saturday while meeting with different stakeholders concerning the power situation. The schedule for the proposed hearing is set to be finalized today when the ERC chairperson will communicate with the mayor via long
distance call.

The proposed purchase of 18 megawatts of power from the Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) is one of the medium term measures being proposed by Zamcelco to help augment power supply amidst the increasing demand and the rolling brownout schedules due to power shortage in the entire Mindanao area.

The proposal was one of the topics lengthily discussed during Saturday’s meeting initiated by Mayor Lobregat at City Hall and intended to come up with mitigating measures in the face of power shortage.

The meeting turned out to be a no holds-barred forum where different stakeholders aired their views and sentiments concerning the present power situation. Zamcelco officials headed by Project Manager Jess Castro clarified all issues and concerns related to the power situation and the schedule of brownouts in the city.

During the meeting, Castro informed the group that the requirement in entire Mindanao is about 1,300 megawatts and the generating capacity of all hydro and thermal generator plans is only about 1,100 with a shortfall of about 200 megawatts.

There were concerns raised about the irregular brownout schedules and awhy Zamboanga City is experiencing longer brownouts than other areas in the region. To this the mayor called on ZAMCELCO to review its rotating brownout scheme and come up with a fixed schedule that is acceptable to most consumers.

The business and industrial groups headed by Pocholo Soliven and George Ledesma presented their Interruptible Load Program (ILP) whereby big companies with generator sets will get off from the grid and operate using generator sets during peak loads.

Mayor Lobregat said the scheme would save at least 6 to 10 megawatts during peak load but it was clear that even if generator set owners will run their facilities on a voluntary basis, there is still lack of power so the contract with the private power generator still has to be pursued.

All stakeholders present were one in saying that the proposed contract with the private power generator- TMI be hastened up through the conduct of the hearing by the ERC, the decision-making body.

“We have to expedite the conduct of this hearing”, the mayor stressed in an interview after the meeting.

With the power shortage being experienced by the city and the other areas in Mindanao, there is no alternative but to try to source additional power and the rate to be charged is subject to the hearing that will be done by the ERC.

All concerns related to the proposed purchase of power- be they pro or anti- should be addressed to the ERC during the hearing, the mayor added.

On the other hand, House Deputy Speaker Beng Climaco’s representative Michael Saavedra, during the meeting informed that the power problem in the city and Mindanao has already reached the president through representations made by Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas.

A high level meeting, possibly to be presided by President Noynoy Aquino himself is set anytime this week in Mindanao, to find solutions to the problem. — Sheila Covarrubias