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November 11, 2014

THE MINDANAO EXAMINER: More firms offer to run own generators

MANILA - Seven more large corporations have volunteered to self-generate their electricity so that the Luzon power grid’s limited supply in the summer of 2015 may be utilized by other consumers, according to House Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Arnel Ty.

Ty identified the firms as broadcasting company GMA Network Inc.,Century Properties Group Inc., Federal Land Inc., Fort Bonifacio Development Corp., Philam Properties Corp., Posh Properties Development Co., and Trafalgar Plaza Condominium Corp..

He said 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,” Ty said. “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 a total of 29 firms have already offered to operate their standby 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 hydro-power facilities.

He said should all 29 firms run their own generators, some 169 megawatts of supply may be freed and available for smaller businesses and homes. 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 had attacked the plan as “vulnerable to corruption.”

Malacañang previously invoked the emergency provisions 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.

The Philippine Chamber Commerce and Industry estimates that privately owned backup generators can supply up to 2,000 MW of electricity, which is more than adequate to cover any shortfalls next year.

“The ILP has emerged as the preferred coping strategy simply because the reserves are already there, and also because it affords consumers the best protection against the hazard of excessive increases in electricity rates,” Ty said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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