Business groups to participate in energy reserve program

Rappler.com
Business groups to participate in energy reserve program
Senator Serge Osmeña says the President may no longer need emergency powers to solve the looming power crisis if the Interruptible Load Program becomes successful

MANILA, Philippines – To help avert a looming power crisis in 2015, business organizations and foreign chambers have volunteered to participate in the government’s energy reserve program. 

The country’s largest business and foreign chambers committed over 300 megawatts to the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) – a scheme proposed by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) where energy users with large loads, such as business establishments and factories, will be required to run their standby generator sets to ease the demand for power from the grid during peak hours. 

The groups include: 

  • Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Makati Business Club
  • American Chamber
  • European Chamber
  • Korean Chamber
  • Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines, Inc.
  • Cement manufacturers, steel manufacturers and locators of the Philippine Export Zone Authority

The Department of Energy (DOE) is calling on large energy users to participate in the ILP to help ease expected power deficits in the summer months of 2015 and 2016 that would cause rotating black-outs in Luzon. 

The DOE projects a power supply shortfall of 200 megawatts in 2015, and an additional 400 megawatts to 500 megawatts are needed as buffer supply during the peak months. 

Earlier, mall owners committed a total of 110 megawatts to the program  

Senator Serge Osmeña III has been pushing for the implementation of the ILP. In an interview with DZBB radio on Sunday, September 14, Osmeña said the President may no longer need to be awarded with emergency powers if the ILP becomes successful. 

Osmeña, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, is wary of giving President Benigno Aquino III emergency powers, which needs to concurrence of both chambers of Congress, to contract additional power.  

Emergency powers won’t do. What they’re saying is, well, the government can always buy and give it. Wait, we will never finish with this. That’s why it’s called emergency powers. It would be hard to use, and they have to go to Congress for the Joint Resolution – in other words, approval of the House and approval of the Senate. If it is approved in the House and not approved in the Senate, it won’t pass,” Osmeña said. 

“We want to make it hard because it should not be an excuse that they can just use emergency powers anyway. That means the management is very lousy. And it’s true, the management is very lousy,” Osmeña said. 

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has warned that the the ILP would be difficult to implement on a permanent basis since it is voluntary in nature.  

Aquino earlier asked Congress to sign to a joint resolution to allow the government to contract additional power supply to address the expected power shortfall in 2015. It was Petilla who broached the idea. – Rappler.com

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