FIRING LINE: Xmas wish: No power crisis

FIRING LINE: Xmas wish: No power crisis

By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

The Philippines needs more power now. It is found wanting as evidenced by the series of yellow alerts that we have been experiencing in the Luzon network.

We are already in the “ber” months, approaching Christmas, thus with the cooler temperatures, demand is supposed to be and expected to be lower. Yet, our country still faces frequent yellow alerts, meaning that our power reserves are running low and thin. To address the thinning power supply situation, many things need to happen, but only a few are really being acted upon.

As Christmas approaches, I can make three wishes for the energy sector.

One is for the signed power supply agreements (PSAs) to be given the go-signal by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), so that consumers can reap the rewards and benefits starting December.

Two is for more big power plants to eventually be successful in the competitive selection process (CSP) bidding so that they can start construction.

And, three, that more developers adopt advanced and environment-friendly technology in power generation. And this all means energy security.

First, we have to consider the fact that we do not want a power crisis during the holidays. It is, therefore, up to the ERC to help prevent it. The commission can no longer delay the approval of the various power agreements. It is this kind of red tape that is slowing down the approval of PSAs.

What worries me is this: It has already been more than an entire month since the successful CSP, but there is no movement or progress with the regulators on the required documentation for the approval process to proceed.

I rejoiced last month when Meralco signed six PSAs. It meant bringing in more power and lowering power rates for consumers starting December this year. But I grew impatient, seeing how ERC was not acting on them. I hope that such inaction would not lead to another power crisis.

As a consumer, I welcome the entry of all environment-friendly generation companies interested in contributing to the grid to create a more secure power supply situation for all industries, and ultimately, all consumers.

The public and private sectors must work together to make energy security a reality.

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