Thursday, February 3, 2011

What's Behind the Current Power Outages?

Since power outages in Marinduque started again some two weeks ago due to diesel shortages directly related to the National Power Corporation's (NPC), current financial stature, local black propaganda and blatant lies are now being peddled without let-up by the enemies of Cong. Lord Allan Velasco against him using local radio, cable-TV and word of mouth as medium.

Truth is, due to the technical bancruptcy of NPC, some 39 electric cooperatives in NPC-SPUG areas in various parts of the country that includes Marinduque are experiencing recurrent brown-outs at present, a problem that has been brought to the attention of President Aquino.

6-7 hour brownouts have occured in this island-province. Per information obtained from Boac Diesel Power Plant today, Boac DPP's fuel stock will last only up to February 11 if it continues with its present 17 hours of operation, with fuel stock for the power barge lasting only up to February 14.

Velasco's Chief of Staff, Atty. Montano Nazario informed this blogger that Cong. Velasco and himself earlier met with the NPC, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and Marelco regarding the present power problem in Marinduque. They have been informed that the earliest date that new diesel supply could be delivered is on Feb. 21, 2011 by Filpride.

For this reason, however, NPC is compelled to further shorten its current 17 hours operation to only 6 hours. Boac DPP Senior Engr. Hernan P. Orilla, meanwhile informed Marelco in a letter dated Feb. 2, 2011, thus:

"Since our fuel delvery is expected on Feb. 21, 2011, Boac DPP with 5.3 MW dependable capability will be unavailable after Feb. 18, 2011. Only PB 120 with MW dependable capability will be available to supply power to the grid. Hence please prepare for a load shedding of almost 4 MW since our prevailing peak load is 6.510 MW."

Implementation of the 6 hour operation will commence tomorrow Feb. 4, 2011.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

The following Manila Bulletin article dated January 26, 2011 by Myrna M. Velasco presents an overview of the present problem:

"Grid-isolated electric coops seek solution to NPC’s fuel shortage

MANILA, Philippines – With state-run National Power Corporation (NPC) literally stripped of cash, the grid-isolated electric cooperatives were prompted to bring to the attention of President Noynoy Aquino the dilemma on diesel shortages that practically cripple them from continually serving their customers.

About 39 electric cooperatives affiliated under the Association of Isolated Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) told the Chief Executive that they are lurking in danger of experiencing recurrent blackouts because of the “crisis in diesel supply” relative to NPC’s current financial stature.

In fact, they noted that the curtailed capability of NPC to supply fuel for power providers has already been causing blackouts in some areas, notably in Tablas Island in Romblon; and Polilio Island in Quezon province.

The provision of electricity supply among island-isolated areas has been placed under the auspices of NPC’s Small Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG). Nevertheless, due to regulatory backlog on approvals of its application for rate adjustments and its inability to tap borrowings to plug cash gap for its ventures, the state-run power firm is now technically bankrupt, hence, adversely affecting its operations.

Based on data culled, the 39 electric cooperatives are catering to the electricity needs of some 652,879 households or around 3.2 million customers.

Most of the ECs claim that they “are having power supply curtailment and black-outs due to the current dwindling diesel supply of NPC-SPUG.” By the end of this month, more massive power outages are expected if NPC cannot shore up its finances for fuel supply buffer.

The AIEC also apprised the President that if the fuel supply dilemma would not be resolved soon “this could lead to social unrest, losses in economic activities, particularly in local tourism industries and investors’ loss of confidence in rural economies.”

Despite attempts of the Department of Energy (DoE) to give a “rosier picture” of the power industry’s state, the turn of events are out to counter such pronouncements. In fact, stakeholders in the sector are already conceding to realities that the next two years will be a “very painful transition” – and would likely be marked with rotating power outages and expensive electricity rates.

In the case of the island-isolated coops, they noted that “the present government’s vision and desire to implement economic revolution in the rural areas, particularly in the remotest islands, by mitigating the migration of people to urban centers, will be jeopardized if and when this impending crisis will not be resolved expeditiously."


To the above Manila Bulletin article was appended the following interesting comment by a reader:


"The PR gurus of P-Noy should be smart enough to handle this orchestrated and strategically planned scheme of his predecessor to turn the heat against him using this issue of power as a very potent force. Take into account these things among others;

"1) The Chairman of ERC who reduced by half the request of NPC-SPUG for funds from PSALM to operate in these islands is Commissiner Ducut, a kabalen of the former president.

"2)GMA now a Congresswoman together with her cohorts in Congress did not budge and even delighted maybe by the substantial cut of budget for the state owned NAPOCOR

"3) EPIRA which was passed during her term is a dismal failure and the effects are now being felt under the President Aquino's term.

"These were strategically put in place so that her successor will reap the brunt of the populace since power is a very critical issue, hence ensuring their political destruction. This is one among the sure fire formulas for them to be back in power.

"The President should act with dispatch and decisiveness to quell this impending crisis...

"Your Tuwid na daan Mr. President is being turned into a ZIG-Zag one by your chosen men!

"I wish you luck to handle all these challenges head on with success!

Rio"

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