Mindanao traders in pain due to long power outages

Published by rudy Date posted on May 24, 2010

The Northern Mindanao chapter of Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) based in Cagayan de Oro recently reported that daily power outages in Mindanao have hit an average of five hours a day and is expected to persist until the third quarter of this year.

This is one of the major issues on the table as the chapter convenes a much needed consultation to help them sort out the situation and arrive at practical ways of solving it, Philexport XA president Wilson Amad said.

The Cagayan de Oro group of exporters wanted to share the confederation’s insights on the worsening problem of electric power shortages in Mindanao, as the El Niño induced drought in the area has brought down the capacity of hydro-electric dams to generate enough power to supply the daily needs of households and industries in the area.

In his latest statement, Philexport national president Sergio Ortiz-Luis said that the issue will be best presented to the incoming President because the regular brownouts in Mindanao and frequent, rotating outages in Luzon need long-term solutions needing billions of pesos in investments.

As early as two years ago, Philexport and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry have been warning energy officials that by 2012 Luzon will be needing 2,000 megawatts more of generating capacity while the Visayas and Mindanao regions will be needing 1,000 megawatts each.

They had further projected that by this year, Mindanao will be needing more electricity than what existing power plants in the region and will suffer shortages while the Luzon grid will be experiencing intermittent supply shortages during the summer months.

The Department of Energy had confirmed the private sector’s projections obut had not acted in aggressively seeking investments which would entail billions of dollars and between three and five years of construction work.

It may be recalled that in the late 1980s, the country’s economic recovery under President Cory Aquino was cancelled off by crippling power supply shortages nationwide that lasted up to 12 hours a day in Luzon by mid-1992.

No major plant has been built by the outgoing administration for the past nine years and experts project that the situation, at least in Luzon and Mindanao, is bound to get worse in the next couple of years before lasting solutions would be set in place. –Daily Tribune

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