Blackouts bring huge losses in Zambo City PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 26 April 2013 11:16

The losses of the business sector in Zamboanga City due to the crippling effects of daily blacknouts is estimated to amount in the hundreds of millions of pesos, a top official of the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce Industry Foundation, Inc. disclosed yesterday.

In an interview, ZCCCIFI President Pedro Rufo Soliven said the chamber is still in the process of completing date gathering but pointed out initial figures indicate it could be in the hundreds of millions.

The single biggest expenditure of the business sector is for fuel to power generating sets running up daily expenses to over 100 percent of power costs if there were no blackouts, the city chamber head said .

The Soliven said peak load requirement of the city at present is now  topping 95 megawatts based on data from Zamcelco while the power utility firm can only muster 48 megawatts, to include the 18 megawatts it has commissioned from Independent Power producer Therma Marine Inc. leaving a gaping shortfall of 47 megawatts and forcing business establishments to turn to costly generators for power.

Soliven expressed apprehensions over the fact that no relief is in sight in the next couple of months which could push losses up further, lamenting the fact no major concrete plans to rectify the situation is being pursued.

Unlike other major metropolis in Mindanao such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Gen. Santos City and even Iligan,    Zamboanga City does not have stand-by generating capacity and has not moved to augment the dwindling power supply from the hydro based Mindanao Grid, despite the problem persisting for several years now Soliven added.

The chamber president said he feels let down after campaigning long and hard overseas to attract investors to come in and do business in Zamboanga City only to be stone walled by the blackout problem.

Not wishing to be negative, Soliven added this has a ripple effect as power outages such as the city is experiencing could impact on lost business opportunities, flight of capital elsewhere and eventually close down of business establishments as businessmen will likely relocate to areas with steadier power supply in the near future.

He added that factoring in equipment breakdown due to erratic on and off power, cost of manpower lowered efficiency due to the heat and inconvenience, difficulty of forecasting the supply chain due to unreliability of the power supply, losses indeed could be more than earlier projected.

Moreover, Soliven said that business expansion is now mostly on hold and new investors are re evaluating entry into the city and possible relocation and capital flight is a very real possibility, losses which Zamboanga City could ill afford at this time.

“The power crisis has dragged on for seven months now starting as it were from the last quarter of last year with no end in sight,” Soliven added.

The is looking at possible measures to adopt if only to stay afloat and keep their business going so as not to lay off workers in their factories and establishments.

“Concrete plans to remedy situations like this must be adopted now because we might not be able to weather another power crisis without drastic effects next year,” Soliven warned.