DoE warns of power crisis with no new generators

Published by rudy Date posted on January 8, 2009

The country’s energy officials have confirmed the existence of a “severe” power supply lack in several parts of the archipelago, particularly in Central Visayas in the province of Cebu.

They claimed that this can be directly traced to the efforts of environmentalist groups in successfully blocking the construction of new power plants to service the growing demand for the commodity by the Philippines’ ever expanding population.

In the coming year, the Census bureau estimates the Philippine population to hit the 90-million mark.

During the recent 34th Philippine Business Conference held in Manila, government officials warned that unless there is a serious effort to address this problem, the Philippines may once again be gripped with an electricity shortage with the magnitude of the one experienced during the dying days of the Aquino administration which saw foreign investors fleeing for comfort.

Secretary Angelo Reyes of the Department of Energy (DoE) said power demand in Metro Manila in Luzon is fast approaching 10,000MW. While the country’s power plants are capable of generating 15,000MW, dependable supply stands at around 13,000MW, of which Luzon gets the lion’s share of 11,000MW while the Visayas and Mindanao get only 1,000MW each. In Central Visayas, there is no reserve power supply which is why outages frequently occur during peak periods.

By conservative estimates, demand for electricity is projected to grow at some 4.5 percent per year; so within five years demand is going to outpace supply. And you know what this means.

In spite of the current global financial crisis, DoE strategists say it would be wise for the Arroyo government to embark on an honest-to-goodness campaign to build more power generating plants before the economy is crippled with an electricity crisis.

In the early 1990s, the government was forced to resort to emergency measures to alleviate the power crisis that had beset the economy due to the lack of foresight of our officials, resulting in one of the highest power rates in Asia approximating Japan’s.

Currently, we are told that the Philippines is saddled with the second-highest power rates in this part of the globe which is causing some concern among investors, such as in the electronics industry.

The imposition of VAT on power as well as the tariff imposed on indigenous natural gas are said to be among the main factors for the stratospheric power rates.–Louie Logarta, Daily Tribune

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