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No brownouts this summer

  • Written by Marlon Purificacion
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 361

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian yesterday assured that there would be no brownouts in the coming summer
months nationwide.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy committee, gave the assurance after a four-hour
public hearing on his Senate Bill No. 1490 that seeks to strengthen the Energy Regulatory Commission
(ERC).
    
The assurance came from Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr.
who ruled out the possibility of having brownouts during the summer months this year.
    
“We do the planning and all of these are included in the implementation where we have to
satisfy certain needs at a particular time. So at this point, as stated by the Secretary, we still
don’t have problems,” Erquiza said in response to Gatchalian’s query if the period would be enough
to prevent brownouts this coming summer.
    
Gatchalian welcomed the return of four suspended ERC Commissioners hoping that they would
resolve in the next 60 days many stranded contracts worth P1.5 trillion.
    
The 60 days refer to the effectivity of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the
Court of Appeals that temporarily stopped the suspension of four ERC commissioners on corruption
charges.
    
“In the next 60 days, anything can happen. It is up to the (suspended) commissioners to
defend themselves,’’ Gatchalian said.
    
During the committee hearing, ERC officials assured the Senate committee that they would try
to resolve two contracts in the next 60 days.
    
But the senator went on, reminding the official that the demand for electricity usually
increases by 15 to 20 percent during summer.
    
“With all these COCs, PAOs being approved, in your forecast sufficient na ba ito para hindi
tayo magkaroon ng brownout this coming March, April?” the senator asked.
    
“As of now, wala po kaming nakikitang problema, but of course, we need to be addressing the
situation,” said Erguiza.
    
“So far, in our estimate, ok pa naman po,” the official added when further pressed by the
senator.
    
What has been approved or to be approved by ERC are power contracts that would supply 1,500
megawatts (MWs).
    
Gatchalian said Luzon’s power requirement is 13,000 MWs. For the entire country, it is
16,000 to 17,000 MWs.
    
These requirements would be covered, he added.
    
Gatchalian said there was a meeting of the minds among officials belonging to energy-related
offices to help iron out his bill that would hopefully stop power plays, corruption, suspensions and
politicking in the ERC.