House okays 5-month emergency power resolution on third and final reading

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Dec. 10 (PNA) — The House of Representatives, voting 145-18, approved on third and final reading on Wednesday House Joint Resolution No. 21 granting emergency powers for five months to President Benigno S. Aquino III to address the projected power shortage during the summer months of 2015, with a provision that additional electricity charges would be shouldered by the government.

“We approved the emergency powers with a no-pass on provision. The government will shoulder the additional cost of electricity. We are eyeing Malampaya Funds as subsidy,” Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and also co-chair of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), said.

Earlier, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said the emergency powers of President Aquino would cost some PhP450 million to address the projected electricity shortage that would mainly use the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) scheme in generating additional power capacity.

The joint resolution provides that “additional generating capacity shall be sourced from the ILP, fast-tracking of committed projects, and plants for interconnection and rehabilitation.”

The measure would allow the President to intervene in power generation by providing compensation to privately-owned entities with self-generating facilities using generators for their electricity consumption instead of getting power supply from the national grid or ILP scheme.

Under the joint resolution, the House Committee on Energy sets a working figure of 1,004 megawatts (MW) as negative reserves. (PNA)