No power crisis yet, says energy chief
The Department of Energy Tuesday assured the public that there was no power crisis in Luzon. Still, amid calls from various groups for the government to declare a state of national emergency on power, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said his department was studying whether the rotating power outages during the weekend would be “imminent” in 2015 and 2016.
“Right now, there is none,” Petilla told reporters when asked if there was a power crisis. Petilla said that Section 71 or the Electric Power Crisis provision of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001 need not be invoked unless the DOE has decided that the power supply shortfall experienced last Saturday and Sunday would not be addressed in the next few years by the existing pipeline of power plant projects.
“Our window (for deciding on Section 71) is maybe September at the latest,” Petilla said.
If Section 71 is invoked, Congress will be called to authorize President Aquino to address the power situation—by putting up a new power plant or other means. Petilla said the government might be able to have in six months enough power assets to serve demand.
In the meantime, the DOE is studying the outlook and talking to power plant developers if they can fast-track some of the facilities now under construction. The government is also trying to manage the supply by rearranging maintenance schedules of major power plants.
“We did not allow maintenance schedules in April, we did not allow them in May. These were moved to September and October,” Petilla said. “You have a supply problem every now and then but the question is, can we say it cannot be addressed? We’re not discounting the possibility of invoking Section 71 but this is only to be studied as a last resort.”
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