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November 11, 2014

THE DAILY TRIBUNE: More firms offer to run own generators to ease power shortage

In a bid to avert an anticipated power shortage by April 2015, another seven large corporations, including broadcasting company GMA Network Inc., have volunteered to self-generate their electricity so that the Luzon power grid's limited supply in the summer of next year may be utilized by other consumers.

Besides GMA Network, House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA partylist Rep. Arnel Ty over the weekend said Century Properties Group Inc., Federal Land Inc., Fort Bonifacio Development Corp., Philam Properties Corp., Posh Properties Development Co. and Trafalgar Plaza Condominium Corp. have all joined the call to run their standby generators in the event that Luzon's power supply becomes strained.

"These firms are ready to drive their backup generators under the Interruptible Load Program, or ILP," said Ty, who speaks for the minority bloc in the House energy committee.

"We applaud these entities for going out of their way to shield consumers, by helping to minimize the threat of any potential power shortages in Luzon between February to June next year," Ty said.

Thus far, Ty said a total of 29 firms have offered to operate their stanndby generators, if required, instead of obtaining their electricity from the Luzon grid in the summer of 2015, when demand is seen to peak due to extreme heat, while supply becomes fragile owing to reduced water pressure at hydropower facilities.

Should all 29 firms run their own generators, some 169 megawatts (MW) of supply may be freed and available for smaller businesses and homes, according to Ty.

Under the ILP, large consumers of electricity - business concerns with loads of at least one MW each - are encouraged to run their backup generators to help Luzon manage possible power shortages in the summer of 2015.

Due to lack of support from Congress, the Department of Energy has already abandoned its plan to acquire up to P10 billion worth of diesel-fired modular generators to deal with the projected power deficit.

Lawmakers from both the administration and opposition had attacked the plan as "vulnerable to corruption."

Malacañang previously invoked the emergency provisons of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, to allow government to establish the required additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as Congress may authorize via a joint resolution.

However, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, energy committee chairman, said Congress will now likely just focus on recommending a measure that will enable government to fully harness the reserve supplies of electricity available from the standby generators already held by private firms.

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