House panel begins probe into frequent power outages

May 15, 2024 Jester P. Manalastas 123 views

THE House Committee on Energy has started looking into the issues of frequent power interruptions in the Luzon and Visayas grids.

Chaired by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, the committee began deliberating on House Resolutions 1685 and 1690 to address the frequent power issues.

Velasco expressed hope that the hearing would shed light on the matter and eventually contribute to stabilizing the electricity supply.

He highlighted the committee’s commitment to work with the energy sector to alleviate people’s burdens, especially the rising electricity rates.

PHILRECA Party-list Rep. Presley De Jesus said he filed HR 1685 to examine the increase in generation and transmission charges following the red and yellow alerts, including the outages of 42 power plants.

HR 1685 co-author APEC Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc noted that these alerts are already an annual occurrence and stressed the urgency of amending power industry laws due to a perceived gap between the country’s electrical needs and existing regulations.

Meanwhile, HR 1690 filed by Makabayan Bloc Reps. France Castro, Arlene Brosas and Raoul Danniel Manuel aims to hold power companies accountable for frequent alerts and the shutdowns of nearly 50 power plants.

Explaining the frequent alert notices, former lawmaker and now Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Sharon Garin reported a 0.92 correlation ratio between peak demand and the heat index in Luzon, noting that both trends closely align.

Garin said peak demand usually occurs in mid-May, but this year, the agency noticed an early high that prompted alerts.

The official emphasized the necessity for an alternative power source following the moratorium on coal. Additionally, she cited the need to replace outdated power plants not only for capacity expansion but also to enhance efficiency.

The DOE also presented the roadmap, as well as short-, medium- and long-term plans, to further improve and increase the country’s electricity supply.