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Palawan power stakeholders must answer for brownouts – Gatchalian

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senate Committee on Energy chair Win Gatchalian (extreme right) meets with Palawan power industry stakeholders at the Senate, 4 Sept. 2017. Gatchalian stressed that the power supply in Palawan needs to be stabilized “as soon as possible”, with power generating firms strictly observing their Power Supply Agreement with the local distribution company. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The Senate Committee on Energy will pursue all possible legal remedies to hold accountable the parties responsible for the continuing power interruptions in many parts of Palawan, Senator Win Gatchalian said on Wednesday.

Gatchalian has directed the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to look into the liabilities of private generation companies and the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO), whose inaction has led to the prolonged power shortage, which started since January this year.

“The most glaring problem that has caused the power outages is the failure of the gencos to deliver on their commitments. We can hold these gencos for breach of contract, and the PALECO for possible mismanagement of the utilities,” said Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, during another dialogue with Palawan power stakeholders.

He stressed that the power supply of Palawan needs to be stabilized “as soon as possible”, specifically taking to task the DMCI Power Corporation (DMCI) for its failure to deliver the 25-megawatt (MW) Guaranteed Dependable Capacity in its Power Supply Agreement with the PALECO.

DMCI has submitted an Action Plan to the committee, indicating that it has already met its power supply obligation with a total of 26.6 MW available power as of the end of August.

DMCI, during the previous months, has been delivering less than its power supply commitment, which the PALECO and the Senate Committee on Energy have earlier said was the primary reason for the power shortage situation in PALECO’s jurisdiction.

Gatchalian has ordered the DMCI to submit by today its strategy on how to sustain its supply of power to Palawan, noting the genco’s claim that it is expecting the construction of additional high-speed diesel generation units as standby power in case of unscheduled power maintenance setbacks. The senator also required DMCI to submit its performance report on a per generation set basis for the last 60 days.

At the same time, Gatchalian asked the NEA to require the PALECO to submit a performance report on the three gencos which have existing power supply agreements with the electric cooperative.

“It is time for NEA to flex its muscles in extracting info from PALECO,” he said lamenting that the EC has been stonewalling the committee’s requests for documents and reports.

“Let us all move forward and solve this problem. The status quo is not acceptable to the people of Palawan,” Gatchalian stressed.