ERC sets hearing on power purchase April 1 — Celso PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 13:45

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has set the public hearing on the proposed purchase of power by the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative from a private power supplier to April 1 or first week of next month.

However, Mayor Celso Lobregat, who personally talked with ERC Chair Atty. Zenaida Ducut over the phone Monday, said the Commission will give Zamcelco a provisional authority so the cooperative can immediately purchase power from the Therma Marine, Inc. (TMI).

“(With the provisional authority), Zamcelco can buy power (from TMI) but the actual charging more or less will be dependent on the rate will depend on the outcome of the public hearing that will be held by the  ERC”, the mayor said.

The chief executive decided to intervene in the power issue amidst the rolling brownouts and the lack of mitigating measures by the concerned agency. Last Saturday, the mayor convened a stakeholders’ meeting with the objective of getting updates on the power situation and to agree on alternative measures to help resolve the impending crisis.

During the meeting, it was agreed that while the business and industrial groups are bent on implementing the Interruptible loading program (ILP), the purchase of 18 megawatts of power from TMI is needed to augment the power supply. The immediate conduct of a public hearing by the ERC is necessary, thus, the mayor’s intervention.

The ERC chair, according to Lobregat mentioned about the need to follow timelines and that the earliest schedule for the hearing in Zamboanga would be April 1st. “But she said to expedite the process, the ERC will give a provisional authority so that Zamcelco can immediately purchase power from TMI and the rates will be subjected to a hearing”.

The mayor was with Zamcelco project manager Jess Castro when he talked with Atty. Ducut, his former colleague in Congress.

He did not elaborate on how the process, vis-a-vis the provisional authority will take place but stressed that there will be debits and credits pending the conduct of the hearing for the rates.

He emphasized that the ERC hearing will be the appropriate venue or forum for the submission of all petitions or oppositions or protests to the proposal.
Zamcelco has stressed that if no additional power will be purchased, Zamboanga City will eventually experience a minimum of 4 hours to maximum 6 hours brownout daily. If the power purchase will push through, the brownouts will be shorter or lessened. — Sheila Covarrubias