NEA ordered to report on frequent power outage in Palawan island

By Lenie Lectura – August 9, 2017

from Business Mirror

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) was given until Friday, August 11, to submit a report on the frequent power outages in Palawan.

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, ordered the NEA to conduct its investigation and submit its findings and recommendations to the committee.

“Being the overall regulator of electric cooperatives, NEA must help identify the root cause of the power interruptions and determine the liability of the Palawan Electric Cooperative [Paleco] for not being able to immediately address the issue,” Gatchalian said during a recent dialogue with Palawan energy stakeholders.

The Senate Committee on Energy initiated the dialogue in the midst of growing complaints of frequent and long power interruptions from consumers in the Paleco franchise areas, which includes Puerto Princesa City, the mainland municipalities of Dumaran, El Nido (Bacuit), Roxas, San Vicente, Taytay, Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, Narra, Quezon, Rizal (Marcos), Sofrono Espanola and Aborlan, and the island municipalities of Agutaya, Araceli, Cagayancillo, Cuyo, Magsaysay and Balabac.

Power interruption in these areas lasts for as long as 18 hours, with a frequency of at least nine times a month since January this year.

“It is the responsibility of the NEA to ensure all covered areas of electric cooperatives get reliable power. In this case, Paleco’s customers are experiencing serious problems of power outages. NEA needs to step in now,” Gatchalian said.

Based on the committee’s internal investigation, the power outage was a result of DMCI Power’s failure to deliver the 25-megawatt (MW) guaranteed dependable capacity in its power-supply agreement  (PSA) with Paleco.

The electric cooperative failed to act upon this, the committee said.

The senator chided DMCI Power for the breach of its contractual obligation and also gave it until August 11 to submit a detailed action plan and timetable on how it will fulfill the 25-MW power-supply requirement under its interim power-supply agreement.

Also, Gatchalian urged Paleco to review all of its existing PSAs not only with DMCI Power, but also with Palawan Power Generation Inc. and Delta Power, to check if they comply with their power-supply commitments.

“I strongly suggest that you review your PSAs, bring them to the Board and to your legal counsel. In our own analysis, you have the right to rescind contracts for nonfulfillment,” the senator said.

The dialogue was attended by Rep. Kim Acosta of Palawan, officials from the Department of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Power Corp., the NEA and Paleco, and representatives from private power generators Palawan Power Generation Inc. , Delta Power and DMCI Power. Another meeting is tentatively set by the end of the month.

DMCI Power Corp. said it is not in breach of its 25-MW PSA with Paleco.