OPINION AND OPTION
By ELINANDO B. CINCO
Recently the inflation rate in the country reached 2.7 percent, a testament to President Duterte’s sound economic policy. The country has been doing well and even the international community is noticing it, but guess what. Militant groups particularly Bayan
Muna said the growth of the economy especially the inflation rate is nothing to crow about. Sour-graping, if you ask me.
Also recently, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) placed the Luzon grid under yellow alert on Monday and Tuesday this week. A yellow alert is raised when “a grid’s reserve power—the difference between supply and demand – is below the required level.”
The frequent yellow and red alerts are clear indication that the country’s current power capacity, especially in Luzon, is not sufficient to provide consumers and commercial establishments electricity supply.
The situation will continue if delays in constructing new and modern power plants that will generate the much-needed baseload capacity, are not properly addressed by the government.
The Supreme Court recently ruled to void more than 90 power supply agreements (PSAs). The ruling states that utility companies are required by law to participate in competitive selection process (CSP).
The CSP is to open the process to all potential power suppliers without discriminating against any genco player and, in the process, ensure that consumers get the best deal.
The ruling definitely delays the construction of new power plants to meet the country’s growing power demand, and address the recurring yellow and red alerts.
Those affected by the ruling, particularly are now complying with the SC decision. This, however, didn’t sit well with Bayan Muna representative Carlos Isagani Zarate.
For the 9th time, Bayan Muna has opposed initiatives of power companies, particularly Meralco, to help solve the country’s acute power supply. This time, the left-leaning organization called on Meralco to exclude its generation company (genco) subsidiaries from bidding for its PSAs. Discriminatory, if you ask me.
Zarate continues to single out Meralco when, in fact,there are other PSAs submitted by other generation companies during the same period that Bayan Muna has not given any attention to at all.
According to Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga in a news item, that there is no factual or legal basis for this call. There is no prohibition in the law, the DOE guidelines, and even the Supreme Court decision that prevent affiliate gencos from participating in the bidding for the power supply requirements of distribution companies. I agree with Joe here.
From Day One since Bayan Muna was established, it has been critical of the government and big corporations. Clearly, the recent statement of the left-leaning group is another propaganda stunt intended to discriminate against the Meralco-affiliated gencos. These gencos are willing to submit to a competitive bidding process that will ensure the fairest terms for its consumers, so why prevent them.
Joe added that constructing new power plants is an urgent measure to solve the country’s energy security requirements. We don’t want to again experience the serious power shortage in the late 1980s that ‘badly crippled’ our economy.
Meralco has assured its customers that its participation in the competitive selection process conforms to all existing laws, rules and regulations. The company, he says, is committed to ensure adequate, reliable and quality power supply according to the mandate of the EPIRA law.
We need power, period, and if Meralco will be able to supply it in a fair process so be it.
Tags: Elinando B. Cinco