Friday, February 8, 2013

Ensure Adequate Poll Electricity – Lawmaker

. MANILA, Philippines --- Government must ensure adequate and stable power supply in the country not just during the forthcoming May 2013 midterm elections but throughout the year to meet the demand of a projected strong economic growth, Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said yesterday. The Marcos call came as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announced that it has created a task force to guarantee uninterrupted power transmission during the elections. But the NGCP itself stated that there is ample electricity in Luzon and the Visayas although the power situation in Mindanao is critical as demand exceeds the available supply. There are reports that the people of Mindanao could experience rotating brownouts as the Agus-Polangui hydropower complex which supplies more than half of Mindanao's power supply has cut its output to only 635 megawatts of its 982-megawatt capacity because of heavy siltation of the rivers that feeds the hydroelectric dam. Manila Electric Company (Meralco), however, warned that even Luzon would face tightness in power supply now and 2016 unless more power plants are built to meet demand amid a projected strong economic growth. Earlier, the Department of Energy (DOE) set up a task force similar to that of NGCP's to ensure the supply of electricity during the national and local elections in May. Marcos said he welcomed the moves to ensure there would be no power interruptions during the elections but, ''we should not stop at such stop gap measures to address our power problems.'' ''The voting and the outcome of the elections will be completed in a few days. After this, the people need to go back to their work or business to earn a living and for these they need adequate supply of electricity too,'' he added. Besides, the temporary measures to soften the power crisis in Mindanao such as using power barges are more costly in the long run, resulting as well to increased power costs that would hurt business and investment prospects, he explained ''What we need is a determined effort by the national government to put up the necessary power infrastructures that would ensure not just adequate and dependable supply of electricity but affordable, too,'' he added. .