An estimated 65.7 million Filipinos will cast their votes this May in what could be the most crucial elections in Philippine history. The country is in an economic slump with the pandemic plunging us deeper into poverty, unemployment, poor education standards, and inadequate healthcare.
Consumer welfare group Kuryente.org is calling for the Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), National Electrification Administration (NEA), and power generators to work together towards a clean, honest, and orderly elections by ensuring that there will be no brownouts during the May 2022 elections. Incidents of unreliable electricity supply and power outages will undermine the integrity and sanctity of the election process.
We live in a democracy, and we believe in the sanctity of the Filipino vote. We have the right and responsibility to elect leaders who will pull us upward towards economic recovery.
However, the persistent issue of thin energy supply triggering power outages during summer months — which includes the May 9 elections, is a serious problem. We cannot risk having power interruptions when Filipinos are casting their votes through electronic voting machines and during data transmission for canvassing. Nationwide brownouts causing voting delays and questionable results, as well as political groups taking advantage of the issue are common scenarios in the Philippines. We need to address this now.
There is so much at stake in the coming elections, we must work together to protect the integrity of the election process and the sanctity of the Filipino vote. Kuryente.org is calling on the following groups and proposing the following measures to ensure stable and reliable electricity for a clean, honest, and orderly elections:
- Collaboration. For the DOE, NGCP, ERC, National Electrification Administration (NEA), and consumer groups to create a working group to plan for possible energy shortages during elections.
- Accountability. For the ERC to approve all pending Certificates of Compliance (COC) for completed power plants regardless of their technology to fast track their entry to the grid.
- Action. For gencos and electric cooperatives to implement stricter maintenance protocols to avoid unplanned shutdowns.
- Compliance. For NGCP to comply with the Ancillary Service Procurement Agreements (ASPA) and contract 100% firm reserves via the competitive selection process (CSP).
- Reliability. For NGCP to ensure critical transmission projects are completed and transmission lines can accommodate ample energy from different power plants. For private power distributors and electric cooperatives to ensure the reliability and stability of their network.
If we all work together, we can protect our democracy and achieve an orderly, clean, and honest elections. We are at a turning point in our history; let us write a better story for the next generation. – Rappler.com
Nic Satur Jr. is the National Coordinator for Kuryente.org. Kuryente.org is a consumer welfare organization that aims to pursue transparency and good governance in the energy industry sector with the ultimate objective of ensuring the rights of the people for a progressive energy sector and industry in the Philippines. To know more, visit kuryente.org.