Time is running out for Luzon as the specter of a power shortage threatens the country’s center of commerce, which contributes a lion’s share of the country’s yearly gross domestic product or GDP.
This was raised today by Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian who urged the government to expedite its decision on solution for next year’s imminent power shortage, saying the country stands to lose more than P80 billion if no resolution is reached by the end of October.
“Based on our rough estimates, the country will lose P81.6 billion in potential income from production in Luzon next year if the government, especially Congress, does not come up with an immediate solution to avert the crisis,” said Gatchalian, a senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development.
The lawmaker said the projected income loss in Luzon is equivalent to 1.2 percent of last year’s real GDP of P6.76 trillion.
Gatchalian emphasized that “timing is crucial” as Congress will convene only from Oct 20 to 31, meeting only from Monday to Wednesday for the plenary session. Both Houses will go on a break for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
“The Legislative branch must prioritize the resolution of the power crisis, either by granting the President emergency powers for the lease or purchase of power generators, or by tapping private establishments through the Interruptible Load Program (ILP),” he said.
If Congress will comply with the Executive’s request for emergency powers in accordance with the Electric Power Reform Industry Act (EPIRA), both houses will have to immediately pass a joint resolution for the granting of such because the purchase or lease requires at least three months. There is a 200 MW-deficit but the Energy secretary recommended an additional capacity of 500 MW as buffer in case the shortage becomes larger.
In the other option favored by the Lower House, establishments will be given perks to generate their own power.
House leaders have also filed a resolution last week directing the House committee on energy to probe into the need for additional generating capacity.
The Makati Business Club met last week to determine how much power can be made available from the generating sets owned by private businesses under the ILP and how much the rates will be. (Monica Cantilero)