Stakeholders convene for power crisis updates PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 March 2013 11:40

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday convened the different stakeholders for a meeting in City Hall to discuss updates on the power situation following the March 15 Zamboanga Power forum attended by top officials from the Department of Energy, Mindanao Development Authority and other agencies concerned in energy.

The meeting, held at the City Hall conference room and attended by people representing the different sectors also discussed findings of a year-long study undertaken by a private group regarding solar energy.

It is recalled that Lobregat last March 8 summoned Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative officials including some stakeholders to a meeting in City Hall in preparation for the conduct of a power forum where all issues related to the power shortage not only in the city but entire Mindanao will be discussed.

The power forum was eventually held March 15 at Centro Latino in Paseo del Mar and with Energy Secretary Carlos Jerico Petilla and MinDA chair and Sec. Luwalhati Antonino and other top executives from the power sector gracing the occasion.

The forum tackled about the power situation in Mindanao and Zamboanga City and also discussed short term, medium term and long term solutions to the problem. Sec. Petilla presented the Mindanao power situation and the options to help address the power shortage in the city.

Following the forum, officials from the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (ZAMCELCO) in a consultative meeting last Wednesday (March 19) got the approval of member-consumers on the options presented by the DOE.

With the members’ approval, the cooperative is now in the process of signing the contracts, after which the matter will go to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the setting of rates.

Lobregat lamented that some people are taking advantage of the situation and are making the power problem as a political issue. 

He reiterated that the government by law is supposed to be out of the power business citing one local government unit that continued to operate a public utility but ended up with debts reaching as much as P4 billion.

“The government is not supposed to be in the power sector but we have been doing everything we can to find solutions to the crisis”, the mayor added.

Petilla during the power forum last week emphasized: “There are actually options for Zamboanga where they can get their power and when they get their power the brownouts will hopefully be arrested, but if you ask me will it be solved by tomorrow? I don’t think so, by next week? I don’t think so but sooner than probably than any other area in the Mindanao region because there are basically available options for them and that will probably cover the majority of the deficit.”

“This is not to say there won’t be any power failure once everything is in place but it will considerably minimize, IF and IF Zamcelco actually contracts this power, kasi hindi ito binibigay, this will be negotiated and power sale agreements (PSAs) will be signed”, he said.

The short term options offered include the 5 megawatts (MW) from the Iligan Diesel Plant; another 5MW from Iligan Diesel supposedly contracted to Holcim Corporation but which is willing to give way to Zamcelco but only until September this year and the 5MW from the SPPC, another diesel plant operated by the Alcantara Group. By 3rd week of April or 1st week of May, the PSA signed by Zamcelco with Mapalad Corporation will commence with its first 5MW (out of the total 18MW supply), which would mean a total of 22MW more for Zamboanga City.

Zamcelco, Petilla said, also has the option to contract with Areco, another private corporation based in Dubai which can supply as much as 20MW diesel power and the DOE-NEA option which can provide another 10MW.

“These are all options which are actually available to Zamcelco. These are not done deals. If they take these then you will arrest brownouts in this particular city”, he said but continued: “Let me emphasize, it will take sometime, when I say take some time, it’s not gonna be tomorrow, it’s going to be anywhere from 4 weeks to 8 weeks”. — Sheila Covarrubias