Daily rotating brownouts lasting 3 to 4 hours long should be expected by the residents of Luzon this coming summer 2015, unless the president is quickly granted by the Congress with emergency powers to solve the issue before it hits consumers, officials of the Department of Energy (DOE) claimed.
These rotating brownouts will be imposed during peak hours, identified to be between 11 AM and 2 PM as well as between 7 PM and 9 PM, reports InterAksyon.
Energy Undersecretary Raul B. Aguilos said, however, that this is just the ‘worst case scenario’.
The huge challenge here is that there is no simple way to have this issue solved just in time for the summer months if the Congress continues to delay granting President Benigno Aquino III with emergency powers under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), DOE insisted.
According to the DOE, if the president is granted emergency powers, he will be able to authorize the procurement of diesel generator sets (gensets). However, a total of P6 billion is needed by the DOE to fund this procurement program.
The Congress is not ready to give the president emergency powers this quickly. Thus, during his recent trip to Bali, the president was quoted as saying he wants the Congress to hurry with his emergency powers to quickly solve the looming energy crisis.
With P6 billion thrown into the equation, however, many critics within the Congress believe this matter should not be taken lightly and decided in a rush.
Other options available
Because the Congress does not look inclined to provide the president with these emergency powers anytime soon, DOE power planning director Irma C. Exconde said that will be their ‘last resort’.
They are now trying to encourage consumers to conserve energy.
Also, the DOE is trying to convince heavy users, such as large manufacturing companies, to procure their own generators or electricity-generating systems, then have these enrolled in the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).
During peak hours, these companies are requested to switch on their generators to produce their own power, lessening the load for power plants. They will be compensated for their efforts and extra production costs.
There’s also a catch here: consumers might not experience daily brownouts but they would be paying higher electricity bills to ‘subsidize’ the ILP. So, the DOE thinks it is still best for the Congress to grant the president with emergency powers soon.