Soliven to Pnoy: declare power emergency crisis PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 March 2013 11:20

Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Pedro Rufo “Pocholo” N. Soliven has called on President  Aquino  to invoke Section 71 of the EPIRA law and declare emergency crisis situation in Mindanao.

Soliven said the provision  gives the President the power, upon the determination of an imminent shortage of supply of electricity to instruct Congress to authorize through a joint resolution the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve.

Soliven said Mindanao is in a desperate power crisis situation.

“We Mindanaons deserve extra ordinary solution and attention, and Section 71 provides that power to the President to solve the power crisis. By invoking Section 71, red tape can be cut and the lengthy procedure in starting a new power project, which normally takes around 2 years to process, can be shortened,” Soliven said,

He added the average demand growth of 4.28%  in Mindanao is due to rapid growth and urbanization as well as its industrialization.

“At this time the Mindanao power outlook is bleak, with a very low power reserve due to limited base load power generating plants. New ones will not come on stream until 2016. At this time  our dependable generating capacity, which includes those from IPP’s,  is only 1,616 MW, with 1,038 MW coming from the hydropwer generated by the  Agus and Pulangui stations,”Soliven further said. “Department of Energy protocol demands that at least 21 percent of reserves are needed for peak demand. The shortfall is 112 MW, and this is the real cause of the rolling brownouts. The situation will get worse as the summer season is already here, and no new baseload plant to add  to the shortfall.”

At the local level, Soliven as Chairman of  Task Force ILP (Interruptible Load Program) reiterated his appeal to the management of Zamcelco  to fast track the implementation of the  ILP. Fifteen industrial and big load  commercial establishments have enrolled in the scheme as part of their corporate social responsibility. At least 8 MW can be generated for Zamcelco to distribute to member consumers who badly need the power.  This  can mitigate brownouts by at least 3 hours. The ILP -TOU scheme is an immediate mitigating measure for Zamcelco to undertake with a sense of urgency.

Soliven called on Zamcelco as well as our city officials to focus on the “ supply” issue, and determine how much is the total demand of Zamboanga City.

“How do we meet the power demand  of the city  and where are we going to buy the supply to meet this demand?  If there is no supply that we can call on at present, then we need to think out of the box or even to create the box to solve the  power crisis. We were already warned  as early as 2001 when EPIRA was enacted into law.  What have we done to anticipate this  situation in a proactive manner?  In 2009, we were again given the warning signs of a looming power crisis.  What did we do then? In 2010 the worst power crisis  hit Mindanao.  What have we done so as not to see and experience a repeat of the devastation to the local economy? In 2012, another power crisis hit Mindanao, what did  we do ? Did we learn any lessons from these experiences? Now it’s 2013, again we are experiencing the same crisis,  a redux of the 2010 and 2012 crises. Why are we in a rut ? Where does the buck stop?” Soliven asked.

He  further suggested  that given the power crisis situation we are in, and no solution seen until 2016  when all these base load plants under construction will come on stream,  a short term solution must be put in place with a sense of urgency.  A workable and immediate measure would be for Zamcelco to seriously study the purchase or lease of  modular gensets to help augment the critically short supply presently available for the city. The  local government should consider using   a portion of the city’s 3 billion-peso  savings to help purchase these gensets for the benefit  of the taxpayer of Zamboanga City who are greatly suffering from the power crisis. — Albert Francisco III