Government urged to hike, fast-track power investments

Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government should increase its investments in the power generation infrastructure and accelerate energy-related projects to address the country’s thinning electricity supply, a think thank said.

The Center for Energy Research and Policy (CERP) said the expanding public investments in the energy sector has been more critical than ever following a series of yellow alerts raised over the Luzon and Visayas grids.

“As the current heat index remains extremely high in the Philippines, Filipinos need electricity to keep themselves cool, healthy, and productive,” CERP said in a statement.

“Our government should not wait for another alert before taking action,” CERP added.

Joey Ocon, a co-convenor of the think tank, made seven recommendations to the government, including streamlining regulatory procedures and reducing bureaucratic hurdles.

Ocon also proposed that the government foster inter-agency coordination and incentivize timely project completions of power investments. 

Furthermore, the government should ensure the availability of “adequate” reserve power capacities while fast tracking the implementation of transmission, distribution and grid interconnection projects, Ocon said.

Lastly, the CERP urged the review of the automatic and manual load-dropping protocols of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines and distribution utilities.

“Addressing our current power supply constraints and preparing for future energy needs require sustained investments in expanding our energy sources, with a focus on both renewables complementing the more readily available conventional sources,” it said.

According to the CERP, the country’s current power generation capacity has been struggling to meet the growing demand that has been exacerbated by the recent high heat indices with about 20 power plants on forced outage nationwide.

“CERP emphasizes the need for a proactive and forward-thinking approach to the country’s energy landscape,” the think tank added.

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