NEED FOR EMERGENCY POWERS PROVES EPIRA'S VERY SERIOUS FLAWS 

SEPT 15 --Research group IBON today said that Pres. Benigno Aquino’s request for emergency powers
to ensure additional capacity and address the looming power shortage underscores the failure and fundamental flaws of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). Instead of providing a responsible long-term public sector solution to the country's power woes, the administration continues to encourage a profit-oriented, private sector-driven power industry. According to IBON, the government has the responsibility of ensuring stable and affordable electricity but this is not possible under the private-sector biased framework of EPIRA.

The EPIRA's deregulation of the generation sector for instance has undermined the building of state competence in power generation and pre-empted rational long-term planning of improvements in installed generation capacity. If power shortage is looming next year as the Aquino administration claims, this will be a self-inflicted power shortage because of the EPIRA's flaws. The emergency powers sought by Pres. Aquino under Section 71 of EPIRA are at best a stop-gap measure which reinforces its dependence on profit-seeking private generators and will unduly burden ordinary consumers. The proposal, for instance, to lease generation sets (gensets) that run on more expensive fuel will further drive up power costs and spell higher expenses for consumers. *READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy formally seeks emergency powers to avert energy crisis 

SEPT 16 --President Benigno Aquino III has formally asked Congress for additional powers to avert
the looming shortage of energy supply next year. In his letter to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Aquino sought for the immediate enactment of a joint resolution authorizing him to establish additional generating capacity. "This authority is needed in order to address the imminent shortage of electric power for the summer of 2015 in Luzon," Aquino said in his letter, which was shown on television reports. Aquino invoked Section 71 of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which allows the government to "contract" additional generating capacity under terms and conditions to be approved by Congress.

He cited the projection of the Department of Energy of a "critical electricity situation" in the summer of 2015 due to the expected effects of the El Nino phenomenon and the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility, among other things. Aquino said the looming power shortage will threaten the country's economy and Filipinos. PNoy ally asks: What's the price tag? Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero is asking Malacañang to "attach the price tag" to the emergency powers that the President is seeking from Congress. "What's the cost to taxpayers of this measure?" asked Escudero, chairman of the Senate finance committee, stressing that the powers the government is seeking is "basically the authority to enter into purchase agreements with private power producers." "Even if power contracted by the government will eventually be sold to distributors, and thus the acquisition cost will be recouped, we still would like to know the costs involved," the senator said.*READ MORE...

ALSO: EMERGENCY POWERS UNDER SCRUTINY; AQUINO TOLD TO DEFINE PARAMETERS

SEPT 18 --THE Department of Energy should clearly define the scope and parameters of the emergency
powers it is seeking for President Aquino to address an imminent power shortage in the summer of 2015, the leadership of the House of Representatives said yesterday.
“We haven’t seen exactly ano ang joint resolution. What we have received only is a communication from the President na kailangan ng (emergency powers). Hindi pa namin alam exactly ang hinihingi,” majority leader Neptali Gonzales II told reporters. The President formally asked the House last Friday to grant him emergency powers by entering into contracts to establish additional generating capacity.

In a letter to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the President invoked the power in accordance with the Electric Power Industrial Reform Act (EPIRA) under which Congress may authorize the President to provide for additional generating capacity. Last Tuesday, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla asked the Senate to pass the joint resolution by the end of the month but Senate President Franklin Drilon said the chamber has yet to submit the draft resolution and Aquino’s letter to Congress did not give details and parameters. He also noted that Congress is set to go on break starting Sept. 27 and will be back on Oct. 20.

Gonzales said the House wants to ascertain that granting the President emergency powers would not cause additional financial burden to the people. He also said the DOE should come up with a comprehensive plan to address the power crisis, noting that even without the emergency powers, the government, through DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission, “has the capacity to assess and look into the situation.” The President, in his letter, cited the Department of Energy’s projected critical electricity situation in the summer of 2015 “arising, among others, from expected effects of the El Niño phenomenon, the 2015 Malampaya (gas-to-power facility) turnaround, increased and continuing outages of power plants, and anticipated delays in the commissioning of committed power projects.”  The Malampaya natural gas facility in Palawan is expected to shut down from March 15 to April 14, 2015. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Belmonte assures no blanket emergency powers for Noy  

SEPT 21 --Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. assured the public yesterday that Congress will not give blanket emergency powers to President Aquino in the event lawmakers grant his request for extraordinary authority to deal with a possible power crisis next year. Belmonte noted that when Malacañang submitted Aquino’s letter last week asking the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass a joint resolution on emergency powers, it was not accompanied by any draft or details of the scope of authority he was seeking. “I’d like a more definitive statement,” Belmonte said. “The letter was handed to me without a draft resolution, and I told them to give us even just a working draft.”

“The joint resolution is just a resolution, there will have to be an appendix containing the precise actions that they have in mind,” he said. Malacañang did give a draft later and it is being studied by the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC). The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) essentially prohibits the government from putting up additional generating capacity. Section 71 states that “upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity, Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve.” Belmonte said the JCPC has held at least three meetings to discuss the matter, including whether Aquino really needs emergency powers, the actual extent of the expected power shortage, as well as measures to deal with the crisis that is not going to be expensive for the taxpayers.

He said Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, who has been pressuring lawmakers to pass the resolution and allow the government to lease expensive power barges, will be summoned by the JCPC. The Speaker also said in the event Congress grants President Aquino’s request, it would be only for a limited duration. “We will have some power shortages but in short periods within three months, and after that, everything will be back on stream,” he said. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace dismisses Serge’s ‘lousy managers’ claims   

SEPT 16 --Malacañang yesterday sought to play down controversial comments by one of its supporters in the Senate who branded the administration as “lousy” following the Palace and its allies insistence on granting emergency powers to President Aquino. “It’s his opinion, I guess everybody has (his) own opinion on how the government runs or responds, or how a government tackles the problem,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told a press briefing, referring to Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III who said “It’s an accepted fact that they are lousy managers and it is almost criminal,” on the apparent negligence of the Aquino administration in addressing the problem of the power sector as well as the worsening condition of the public transport system and port congestion which has led to losses in income in both the government and private sector.

“Even if the House approves and the Senate does not, the proposal (for emergency powers) will not pass. We want to make it hard because we are tolerating inefficiency by reasoning that emergency powers can always be granted.”
He even added: “That means the management is very lousy. They don’t even know what emergency powers means. There is no definition for emergency powers. It just gives the government a temporary right to contract a power, to buy power.” The Palace official, however, assured the public that many of the problems in the energy sector, port congestion and mass transit enumerated by Osmeña are continually being addressed by the government.
“We have identified the problems and we’re providing the solutions to all of them. This is a time where there’s a sense of difficulty,” Lacierda said. *READ MORE...

ALSO Tribune Editorial: Emergency powers 2016 prep  

SEPT 16 --It can’t be helped but to associate the call for emergency powers to Noynoy as part of the Liberal Party (LP)’s kitty buildup for it survival effort beyond 2016. The power supply situation is a matter that should have been addressed along with the anticipated economic growth that Noynoy has been touting about since the start of his term. Much more than what is being spinned as “good governance is good economics” as having pushed growth, the expansion of the global economy has been concentrated on Asia since the financial debacle in the developed world which naturally the country, along with all other Asian nations, are benefiting.

The lack of a concrete plan on the power sector is a reflection of either lack of foresight or lousy management as Sen. Serge Osmeña put it or that the economic executives of Noynoy do not believe what they have been trumpeting as a surge in economic activity during the term of Noynoy.Whatever it was, a resolute action outside of speeches and the forming of committees to address the power supply problem failed to materialize during the four years of Noynoy.
Shortly after assuming the presidency, Noynoy was faced with a electricity supply shortage in Mindanao as the traditional hydroelectric sources had failed to match the demand from progressing regions.One of the solutions was to pass the burden of easing the power supply shortage to private companies by encouraging them, through incentives, to use generators for their electricity requirement.

The half-wit solution is also being considered for what seems to be a made up shortage in Luzon. Those in the generator set business should be applauding the proposal which is clearly an effort to unload to private firms the blame for the thinning availability of electricity. *READ MORE..
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

NEED FOR EMERGENCY POWERS PROVES EPIRA’S SERIOUS FLAWS

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 (IBON FOUNDATION) Research group IBON today said that Pres. Benigno Aquino’s request for emergency powers to ensure additional capacity and address the looming power shortage underscores the failure and fundamental flaws of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

Instead of providing a responsible long-term public sector solution to the country's power woes, the administration continues to encourage a profit-oriented, private sector-driven power industry.

According to IBON, the government has the responsibility of ensuring stable and affordable electricity but this is not possible under the private-sector biased framework of EPIRA.

The EPIRA's deregulation of the generation sector for instance has undermined the building of state competence in power generation and pre-empted rational long-term planning of improvements in installed generation capacity.

If power shortage is looming next year as the Aquino administration claims, this will be a self-inflicted power shortage because of the EPIRA's flaws.

The emergency powers sought by Pres. Aquino under Section 71 of EPIRA are at best a stop-gap measure which reinforces its dependence on profit-seeking private generators and will unduly burden ordinary consumers.

The proposal, for instance, to lease generation sets (gensets) that run on more expensive fuel will further drive up power costs and spell higher expenses for consumers.

* IBON added that the government's repeated declarations of a looming power crisis and the urgency to act hastily only emboldens private suppliers and contractors to charge more for these services.

The terms on which government contracts the additional generating capacities need to be scrutinized publicly and openly. The Aquino administration has already repeatedly shown its bias for big foreign and domestic business and its inclination to support private profits even using public resources and at the expense of the public interest.

Specifically in the power sector, energy corporation profits continue to be guaranteed through automatic rate adjustments and pass-on schemes under EPIRA.

To truly address the issue of supply insecurity, and even onerous power rates, the Aquino government needs to play a central role in the power industry and not simply come in when the private sector fails to do its obligations.

According to IBON, EPIRA has a very narrow framework attending to the interests of private firms to address the multifaceted issues confronting the power industry, including supply and cost issues. (end)

FROM PHILSTAR

PNoy formally seeks emergency powers to avert energy crisis By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated September 16, 2014 - 2:42pm 1 11 googleplus0 0


Senate President Franklin Drilon (left) and House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte welcome the presence of President Aquino, who is about to deliver his State of the Nation Address in July 2014. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III has formally asked Congress for additional powers to avert the looming shortage of energy supply next year.

In his letter to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Aquino sought for the immediate enactment of a joint resolution authorizing him to establish additional generating capacity.

"This authority is needed in order to address the imminent shortage of electric power for the summer of 2015 in Luzon," Aquino said in his letter, which was shown on television reports.

Aquino invoked Section 71 of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which allows the government to "contract" additional generating capacity under terms and conditions to be approved by Congress.

He cited the projection of the Department of Energy of a "critical electricity situation" in the summer of 2015 due to the expected effects of the El Nino phenomenon and the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility, among other things.

Aquino said the looming power shortage will threaten the country's economy and Filipinos.

PNoy ally asks: What's the price tag?

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero is asking Malacañang to "attach the price tag" to the emergency powers that the President is seeking from Congress.

"What's the cost to taxpayers of this measure?" asked Escudero, chairman of the Senate finance committee, stressing that the powers the government is seeking is "basically the authority to enter into purchase agreements with private power producers."

"Even if power contracted by the government will eventually be sold to distributors, and thus the acquisition cost will be recouped, we still would like to know the costs involved," the senator said.

FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

EMERGENCY POWERS UNDER SCRUTINY; AQUINO TOLD TO DEFINE PARAMETERS By WENDELL VIGILIA... | September 18, 2014

THE Department of Energy should clearly define the scope and parameters of the emergency powers it is seeking for President Aquino to address an imminent power shortage in the summer of 2015, the leadership of the House of Representatives said yesterday.

“We haven’t seen exactly ano ang joint resolution. What we have received only is a communication from the President na kailangan ng (emergency powers). Hindi pa namin alam exactly ang hinihingi,” majority leader Neptali Gonzales II told reporters.

The President formally asked the House last Friday to grant him emergency powers by entering into contracts to establish additional generating capacity.

In a letter to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the President invoked the power in accordance with the Electric Power Industrial Reform Act (EPIRA) under which Congress may authorize the President to provide for additional generating capacity.

Last Tuesday, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla asked the Senate to pass the joint resolution by the end of the month but Senate President Franklin Drilon said the chamber has yet to submit the draft resolution and Aquino’s letter to Congress did not give details and parameters. He also noted that Congress is set to go on break starting Sept. 27 and will be back on Oct. 20.

Gonzales said the House wants to ascertain that granting the President emergency powers would not cause additional financial burden to the people.

He also said the DOE should come up with a comprehensive plan to address the power crisis, noting that even without the emergency powers, the government, through DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission, “has the capacity to assess and look into the situation.”

The President, in his letter, cited the Department of Energy’s projected critical electricity situation in the summer of 2015 “arising, among others, from expected effects of the El Niño phenomenon, the 2015 Malampaya (gas-to-power facility) turnaround, increased and continuing outages of power plants, and anticipated delays in the commissioning of committed power projects.”

The Malampaya natural gas facility in Palawan is expected to shut down from March 15 to April 14, 2015.

* In the letter, the President said a speedy enactment of the measure “will ensure the energy requirement of the country for this critical period–through a specific, focused and targeted acquisition of additional generating capacities for use during the limited periods of time of very tight energy supply.”

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda assured the public the emergency powers would be used solely to avert a possible power crisis in 2015 and nothing else.

Lacierda said the proposed emergency powers and the mechanisms that would be adopted to address the power situation would undergo careful and thorough scrutiny and with the interest of the public in mind.

“The powers invoked here are based on Section 71 of the EPIRA, and the provisions are very clear, and it is limited only during that period of time where we will anticipate—or we anticipate a possible shortage come next 2015,” he said.

Aquino’s letter said the emergency powers would enable national government to contract up to 600 megawatts of additional generating capacity to address the projected power deficit next year.

Lacierda said Petilla would have the specifics about the proposed powers and measures to be adopted to avert the crisis. He said one previously mentioned measure was to continue the interruptible load program (ILP) wherein big-user companies are allowed to disconnect from the power grid and use their power generators during peak hours in exchange for incentives.

Lacierda also urged the public to help conserve power.

“Knowing that we’ll be facing a possible power shortage in 2015, and also a possibility that there will be El Niño towards the end of the year, I think it’s also (going to) be prudent for all of us… to start, as early as now, to conserve energy,” he said.

Lacierda also said that since Aquino assumed the presidency in 2010, government has taken steps to improve the power supply to be able to meet the demands and lower the cost.

He said since 2010, nine power plant facilities have been inaugurated, switched on, or have started construction.

He said it does not matter to the administration that some of the plants would be completed after Aquino’s term ends in 2016. He said what is important for the administration is that Filipinos “will benefit from all these power plants so that it will attend to the needs of commerce, to industries, and to the needs of the Filipino consumers.”

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, who was at the Senate for a budget hearing, said the duration of the emergency powers would be up to the Senate.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said the emergency powers should not last longer than six months.

“One year is too much. I think six months is enough because generally there is no emergency that lasts for one whole year. The only emergency to last for a year is between the husband and his wife, that’s a marital emergency,” she told Senate reporters in a press conference. – With Jocelyn Montemayor and JP Lopez

FROM PHILSTAR

No blanket emergency powers for Noy By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 21, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. assured the public yesterday that Congress will not give blanket emergency powers to President Aquino in the event lawmakers grant his request for extraordinary authority to deal with a possible power crisis next year.

Belmonte noted that when Malacañang submitted Aquino’s letter last week asking the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass a joint resolution on emergency powers, it was not accompanied by any draft or details of the scope of authority he was seeking.

“I’d like a more definitive statement,” Belmonte said. “The letter was handed to me without a draft resolution, and I told them to give us even just a working draft.”

“The joint resolution is just a resolution, there will have to be an appendix containing the precise actions that they have in mind,” he said.

Malacañang did give a draft later and it is being studied by the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC). The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) essentially prohibits the government from putting up additional generating capacity.

Section 71 states that “upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity, Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve.”

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Belmonte said the JCPC has held at least three meetings to discuss the matter, including whether Aquino really needs emergency powers, the actual extent of the expected power shortage, as well as measures to deal with the crisis that is not going to be expensive for the taxpayers.

He said Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, who has been pressuring lawmakers to pass the resolution and allow the government to lease expensive power barges, will be summoned by the JCPC.

The Speaker also said in the event Congress grants President Aquino’s request, it would be only for a limited duration.

“We will have some power shortages but in short periods within three months, and after that, everything will be back on stream,” he said.

* Kabataan partylist Rep. Terry Ridon has opposed the granting of emergency powers, citing Aquino’s “tyrannical tendencies.”

“We should remember how the President acted like he’s the law with regard to the Disbursement Acceleration Program fiasco. I believe there are measures that can be done to address the energy issue without giving Aquino emergency powers,” Ridon said.

He warned that authorizing the President to enter into negotiated power deals is one of the main reasons why electricity rates in the Philippines are higher than neighboring countries.

The lawmaker also expressed fears that granting President Aquino emergency powers to raise generation capacity will give him the authority to waive the required technical, financial and environmental requirements of generation companies.

“The President’s rushed tone seems to imply that he wants such clearances, licenses and permits waived,” he said. “While there is indeed a huge issue on power supply that the government needs to address, we need to be wary of moves that would essentially allow generating companies to build and operate power plants without complying with certain technical, financial and most especially environmental standards.”

Enough funds to address shortage

The government has more than enough funds available to cover the estimated P6 billion needed to address the expected power shortage in summer next year through the grant of emergency powers to the President.

Sen. Ralph Recto pointed out that the royalties that the government receives from the Malapaya natural gas exploration project in Palawan and other energy projects would amount to some P180 billion by the end of the year.

It has been reported that the additional generation capacity sought by Aquino through emergency powers would run for two years and would entail a cost of P6 billion.

Recto said that the government has an “off-budget special fund” pooled from the royalties and the rentals, production share on service contracts and similar payments on the exploration, development and exploitation of energy resources as provided for under Presidential Decree 910.

These include, for this year, P28.3 billion from the Malampaya royalties, P1.6 billion from coal production, P1.1 billion from oil and P1.6 billion from geothermal projects, for a total of P31.6 billion.

“If you read the 2015 budget documents, it says there that there is a balance of P148.8 billion as of December 2013 in government shares from Malampaya and other energy development projects,” Recto said. “If you add the remittances for 2014, which is projected at P31.6 billion, and deduct about P757 million in withdrawals this year, then the end-year balance is about P179.7 billion.”

Recto cited as his source the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing, which accompanies the proposed national budget submitted to Congress by Malacañang every year.

“Theoretically, the government can fully subsidize the estimated P6-billion cost of contracting 600 megawatts of electricity next year in order to bridge supply gaps which are expected to worsen during the summer months when electricity use spikes,” Recto said.

Recto noted that the P6 billion sought by the executive branch to address the power shortage is roughly equivalent to what the government spends in a month for the Conditional Cash Transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and its payroll and pension expenses in three days.

The Senate committee on energy headed by Sen. Sergio Osmeña III will go over the request of the President for a joint resolution of Congress granting him the authority to contract additional generating capacity next week.

Petilla told the senators earlier this week that the resolution should be approved before the end of the month.

However, both Senate President Franklin Drilon and Osmeña have shot down the possibility of approving the joint resolution this month, given the fact that Congress will adjourn its sessions on Friday next week for a two-week break. – With Marvin Sy

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Palace dismisses Serge’s ‘lousy managers’ claims Written by Joshua L. Labonera Tuesday, 16 September 2014 00:00               

Malacañang yesterday sought to play down controversial comments by one of its supporters in the Senate who branded the administration as “lousy” following the Palace and its allies insistence on granting emergency powers to President Aquino.

“It’s his opinion, I guess everybody has (his) own opinion on how the government runs or responds, or how a government tackles the problem,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told a press briefing, referring to Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III who said “It’s an accepted fact that they are lousy managers and it is almost criminal,” on the apparent negligence of the Aquino administration in addressing the problem of the power sector as well as the worsening condition of the public transport system and port congestion which has led to losses in income in both the government and private sector.

“Even if the House approves and the Senate does not, the proposal (for emergency powers) will not pass. We want to make it hard because we are tolerating inefficiency by reasoning that emergency powers can always be granted.”

He even added: “That means the management is very lousy. They don’t even know what emergency powers means. There is no definition for emergency powers. It just gives the government a temporary right to contract a power, to buy power.”

The Palace official, however, assured the public that many of the problems in the energy sector, port congestion and mass transit enumerated by Osmeña are continually being addressed by the government.

“We have identified the problems and we’re providing the solutions to all of them. This is a time where there’s a sense of difficulty,” Lacierda said.

* A press release from Malacañang also claimed that under the Aquino administration infrastructure developments, including construction and repairs of major roads and public transportation facilities are in full swing.

It also quoted the President as citing the construction and improvements of major expressways in the country including the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), the Subic-Clark-Tarlac North Luzon Expressway and South Luzon Expressway. And by the end of 2014 and next year, TPLEX will be extended up to Urdaneta, Pangasinan and Rosario, La Union, respectively.

“This means ‘LEX’ (less) anxiety for the people,” Aquino said.

He also mentioned other major infrastructure projects such as the Cavite LRT extension, upgrade of airports and seaports, construction and development of the Clark Green City in Central Luzon, which will be bigger than the Bonifacio Global City, and the bus rapid transit project in Cebu.

Playing down Osmeña’s statements branding the acts of the government negligent and “almost criminal,” Lacrieda said the government is simply adjusting to the problems that need to be addressed.

“I’d like to disagree that it’s criminal, we are trying to find solutions. I know Senator Osmeña is an expert on power... nonetheless, we are adjusting the issue on the power, and the President has already informed us of the measures in time that 2015 comes around with power lack,” he said.

THE TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

Emergency powers 2016 prep  Written by Tribune Editorial Tuesday, 16 September 2014 00:00

It can’t be helped but to associate the call for emergency powers to Noynoy as part of the Liberal Party (LP)’s kitty buildup for it survival effort beyond 2016.

The power supply situation is a matter that should have been addressed along with the anticipated economic growth that Noynoy has been touting about since the start of his term.

Much more than what is being spinned as “good governance is good economics” as having pushed growth, the expansion of the global economy has been concentrated on Asia since the financial debacle in the developed world which naturally the country, along with all other Asian nations, are benefiting.

The lack of a concrete plan on the power sector is a reflection of either lack of foresight or lousy management as Sen. Serge Osmeña put it or that the economic executives of Noynoy do not believe what they have been trumpeting as a surge in economic activity during the term of Noynoy.

Whatever it was, a resolute action outside of speeches and the forming of committees to address the power supply problem failed to materialize during the four years of Noynoy.

Shortly after assuming the presidency, Noynoy was faced with a electricity supply shortage in Mindanao as the traditional hydroelectric sources had failed to match the demand from progressing regions.

One of the solutions was to pass the burden of easing the power supply shortage to private companies by encouraging them, through incentives, to use generators for their electricity requirement.

The half-wit solution is also being considered for what seems to be a made up shortage in Luzon. Those in the generator set business should be applauding the proposal which is clearly an effort to unload to private firms the blame for the thinning availability of electricity.

* The bid for emergency powers is also being associated with subsidized or cheap electricity and the failures of the previous administration, the stock scapegoat of Noynoy despite former President Gloria Arroyo having been out of power for the past four years and is now under detention.

The excuse was that it will take four years for a major power project to start delivering electricity from the awarding of a contract. Had Noynoy made power supply projects a priority when he assumed office, new power plants would have started by now.

Gloria can’t be blamed either since Noynoy and his LP backers canceled most of the contracts she had approved.

Major power projects are stalled because of court disputes or are held up by permit delays such as the $1.1-billion 600-megawatt (MW) Redondo Peninsula Project at the Subic Freeport Zone and the natural gas project of Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. and Australian partner BHP Billiton Petroleum Corp.

The Redondo project, for instance, involves a simple demand from its Japanese proponents that the government grants incentives promised them during the previous administration.

Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, instead, brought the investors of the project to court in her insistence of denying the incentives promised them.

Just freeing up the Redondo Peninsula project would have solved the projected 300-MW deficiency next year and a 300-MW reserve which are requirements being used as alibi in the proposed emergency powers.

Noynoy, in a speech, mentioned the need for as much as $1 billion in contracts to stabilize the energy supply before he leaves, which at a current rate of $2 million per one megawatt of electricity generated for a power project would amount to $2 billion or P88 billion in contracts.

One can do the math on commissions and kickbacks from there.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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