Electric coops submit position paper to solve power shortage PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 April 2012 14:20

With the upcoming Power Summit on April 13, the 33-member Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (Amreco) said it will present its position paper to help in finding solution to the power problem in the region.

In its recommendation, the Mindanao power cooperatives demand for “transparency” which will require knowledge of the public on the data of what the daily available supply is, among the contracted capacity from the generators with the National Power Corporation (Napocor).

Transparency also requires knowledge on daily basis as to what is the available supply that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) can dispatch, be that power supply contracted by Napocor or otherwise, and on what is actually withdrawn by the customers — to show who may have wittingly or unwittingly withdrawn more than what is contracted.

The Amreco also rejected moves to privatize the state-run Agus and Pulangui hydro-electric plants, saying it could complicate the peace and security in the area.

In its position paper, the Amreco said the planned privatization “will endanger and exacerbate hostility to the hydro plants by the people in the communities adjacent to Lake Lanao, where the Agus draws it water source; and Pulangui River in Bukidnon.”

The Maranao folk of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte had been claiming their share from revenues generated by the Agus hydropower plants while the lumad of Bukidnon wanted the government to compensate them for the use of the Pulangui River.

Both hydropower systems were being run by Napocor.

Energy Undersecretary Josephine Patricia Asirit earlier said the Department of Energy (DoE) had asked for a deferment of the privatization of the Agus-Pulangui hydro-electric plant in deference to Congress, which will decide on the privatization.

Senator Francis Joseph Escudero, a member of the joint congressional power commission, said the commission will meet on April 19 to discuss the power crisis in Mindanao and resolve the privatization issue.

Senator Sergio Osmena III, the commission’s chairman, said a joint resolution by the House of Representatives and the Senate will be needed to approve the privatization.

“We are in consultation with Congress,” he said.

Asirit said power barges would be deployed to Mindanao to produce an extra 120 megawatts (MW) since the Agus-Pulangui plants, which produce 180 MW, would be shut down for repairs starting April 17.

She, however, said using the Iligan diesel plant and power barges would mean the power rates in Mindanao would go up by 50 to 80 centavos per kilowatt-hour.

“Unpopular decisions have to be made to solve the power situation in Mindanao. It is inevitable. We have to address the shortage in power,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Amreco lauded the energy department for issuing DoE Circular No. DC2012-03-0004 directing compliance with the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2011 (EPIRA) to address the power supply situation, including the rationalization of the available capacities in the Mindanao Grid.

The Mindanao electric cooperatives also agreed to continue dialogues and consultations with the stakeholders, government sectors and the general consuming public to find more appropriate solutions in the short, medium and long terms for the power situation in the region.

The group also calls for the creation of a “Mindanao Power Plan” with the end view of looking at available solutions to avoid recurrence of power shortage.