MANILA, Philippines — The government should shoulder the procurement cost of diesel-fed generator sets that the Department of Energy would use as a short-term solution to the Mindanao power crisis, senatorial candidate Eddie Villanueva said on Tuesday.
Villanueva, the Bangon Pilipinas party’s lone senatorial candidate in next month’s midterm polls, called his proposal “a more plausible alternative to the DOE plan to offer modular 0.5 to 1-megawatt capacity diesel generator sets through a $200-million loan facility the agency is considering to make available to electric cooperatives in the southern Philippines.”
“Placing the burden of procuring the generator sets on electric cooperatives will make this solution less acceptable for the same cooperatives that will be forced to pass on the added cost to their respective consumers,” the Jesus is Lord church leader also said.
In a statement, Villanueva warned that the poorest households in Mindanao would be hardest hit by “higher electricity bills resulting from this additional pass-on cost.”
“The government should own up to its failure to develop Mindanao’s power generating capacity that has now resulted in rolling brownouts in some parts of the region. As such, it should shoulder the cost of implementing stop-gap measures to meet the region’s power requirements while the construction of base load power plans is ongoing,” he said.
With Mindanao already amid the eight-hour rotating brownouts, Villanueva said, the Aquino administration should drop its “loan offer” to electric cooperatives and instead, take the initiative by procuring generator sets and deploying them to electric cooperatives.
Villanueva emphasized the urgency of the situation by citing the warning of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines of a 112-megawatt power supply shortfall in April with a daily peak load of 1,114 mw.”
Villanueva believes “the deployment of diesel-fired generation sets should only be viewed as an immediate-term measure to shore up power supply in Mindanao.”
“The goverrnment should also aggressively develop the region’s generating capacity as a long-term solution to its power woes,” he emphasized.
The JIL head urged the DOE to “provide incentives for the development of new power facilities in Mindanao.”
Villanueva supported calls for the development of alternative energy sources such as solar facilities, run-of-the-river and biomass power plants to lessen Mindanao’s dependence on hydro-power plants.