Beng volunteers TWG to study options on power woe PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 March 2013 11:15

House Deputy Speaker and District 1 Representative Beng Climaco has volunteered to commission a technical working group to urgently study the different options and remedies presented by the Department of Energy and to help Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative address the power problem.

“I am formally pushing for a technical team to carefully and transparently study and evaluate all our options closely. It is not power at any cost, but power at reasonable cost beneficial to all stakeholders”, the lady solon said during the Zamboanga Power Forum Friday and graced by Energy Secretary Carlos Petilla and Mindaao Development Authority (MINDA) Chair Sec. Luwalhati Antonino and other representatives from agencies under the energy cluster, at the Centro Latino in Paseo del Mar.

During the forum, Sec. Petilla cited several power suppliers available for tapping by Zamcelco to help minimize power curtailment.

Climaco stressed that solving blackouts in the city requires the cooperation of all stakeholders and that solutions should be clearly calculated and well thought of.
Reliable power, she said is a function of supply and demand and thus, tackling the present problem must come from both sides.

In terms of supply, Zamcelco should contract enough electricity to satisfy its total demand. “Government officials and the rest of the citizenry should check on how Zamcelco is being run and ensure that it has contracted enough power”, she said.

The lady solon encouraged the business sector to cooperate and help Zamcelco implement the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), a scheme whereby large industrial customers with embedded generators produce to get out from the grid and produce their own electricity during peak hours. She likewise called on the industrial sector and Chamber of Commerce to explore the time of use program by shifting their operations to off-peak periods.

Climaco’s office has looked into the cost and impact on rates following calls for the purchase of modular generation sets and found out that the cost of bringing in a 20MW modular gen set would be almost P14/ kilowatt, which is twice the standard rate of P6-7/KW. “If this is implemented, electricity prices would be more than PhP9 per kilowatt, which is more expensive than the current rates. Although we all seem desperate for power, are we all willing to pay for such prices?” she asked.

The power shortage experienced in Mindanao, she clarified, is mainly due to low water levels in Agus-Pulangui hydro power complexes brought about by lack of rain. 

“When the rain starts and there is enough water level, the modular generation sets would become idle. Please note also that there will be large powerplants that will come online in 2016. When this occurs, the modular generation sets would definitely be more idle. These generation sets would still be useful as ancillary or backup generators but this would also mean additional cost including those for maintenance.”

On the other hand, Climaco said Zamcelco and SRPI disclose the rate of the power supply agreement that was recently forged stressing that while the same will be disclosed in the proceedings in the Energy Regulatory Commission, the people of Zamboanga have the right to know here and now so that they are apprised of their options. “I am also told that the Iligan Diesel Power Plant (IDPP) will come online soon – how much would it be willing to offer its electricity for ZAMCELCO? Would it be cheaper that the modular generation sets?”

“I am not closed to the idea of bringing in generation sets with the help of government, however we cannot sacrifice resources and we must utilize our funding wisely. We can have a formula where government can help the business sector have their own modular generators, and participate in the ILP Program. The relationship should be as partners helping each other, rather than as a subsidy program. I am having legal experts look into possible ways of structuring this arrangement,” she pointed out.

The TWG that Cong. Climaco has volunteered to offer will be composed of people trained for issues on energy to include her legal consultant on energy, Atty. Johnny de Castro, who has a doctorate on energy law acquired from the University of California in Berkely.

Meanwhile, the congresswoman said the cheapest alternative to power where each and every individual can participate is through energy efficiency and conservation.

She called on everyone to guard against all forms of electric pilferage such as the use of “jumpers”, to avoid wastage in power consumption and to explore the possibility of using “solar bulbs which is inexpensive and easy to use.

“Solutions should be clearly calculate and well-thought of. It will need the cooperation of each and every single one of us”, Climaco added.

She thanked Sec. Petilla and Sec. Antonino for explanations and clarifications given during the forum and most especially, she thanked President Aquino and Sec. Mar Roxas for helping find solutions to the problem. —Marvin Segura