Congressional panels to probe Luzon power shortage
A Meralco contractor fixes an electric line at Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday, June 01, 2021. Rotational blackouts may persist in the Luzon grid this week as large power plants have extended their unplanned outage and warmer temperature cripples supply in the power grid.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Congressional panels to probe Luzon power shortage

(Philstar.com) - June 3, 2021 - 11:06am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:35 p.m.) — The House and Senate committees on energy will launch an inquiry into the recent spate of rotational blackouts in Luzon, chairmen of the panels said in separate statements.

Some 390,000 households from 90 barangays in 16 LGUs lost their electricity on June 1, Senate energy committee chairperson Sherwin Gatchalian said.

Two vaccination centers in Valenzuela, he added, also experienced power interruptions.

“We all know that the vaccines need to be stored in cold storages otherwise they’ll just go to waste and that will be a major setback for us in our fight against this dreaded virus,” said House energy committee chair Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo (Pampanga), who will lead the panel's probe on Friday.

Arroyo also stressed that power is vital so students who are still on remote learning can attend their classes.

A number of senators were also unable to attend Tuesday's plenary session through videoconference due to the blackouts. 

In another plenary session held the following day, several senators noted that the Department of Energy in April assured the Senate that there was no high risk of power shortage supply during the summer. 

READ: PDP-Laban rift continues: Pacquiao hits Cusi over Luzon blackouts

Gatchalian said he filed Senate Resolution No. 740 to underscore the role of the DOE  in ensuring the quality, reliability, security and affordability of electric power supply in the country and to hold the department to account for its failure to address power supply shortages since 2016. 

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) on Monday raised the red alert warning, meaning there is severe power deficiency that could lead to rotational power interruptions, on the Luzon power grid from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Meanwhile, a yellow alert notice was raised from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. This means there were not enough reserves to cover the largest running generating unit in those hours. 

Amid all this, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi was in Cebu, presiding over a national council meeting of the ruling PDP-Laban as its vice chairman.  

"[I] it is crucial for the DOE to provide long-term solutions to this problem and a specific timeline for these plans, to include the hastening of the build out of new power plants, aggressively utilizing energy efficiency and conservation, and contracting sufficient ancillary reserves," Gatchalian said in a statement released by his office.  

"All these things are necessary to protect the public and the economy from losses due to power outages and the resulting high prices of electricity due to limited power supply." 

— with report from Xave Gregorio

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