Urgent action needed on energy crisis – CitizenWatch

by Bernie Magkilat, 15 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

Consumer group CitizenWatch urged government agencies to immediately comply with the call of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on Energy to submit all necessary data and information available to implement the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) smoothly and efficiently.

According to Atty. Tim Abejo, co-convenor of CitizenWatch, government agencies need to show a sense of urgency in providing data critical to the implementation of the ILP.

” The members of the JCOC need pertinent data and information for them to come up with a reasonable decision on whether to pass on the additional charge to consumers or not,” Abejo said.

Abejo agreed with the position of Rep. Reynaldo Umali to convene all the pertinent government agencies to do the math so that reliable data available would aid the legislators and break the ongoing deadlock in the bicameral sessions.

Brownouts are not far from happening, in fact in some areas notice of brownout schedules have been given out to consumers, these are warning signals of the looming power crisis, said Abejo.

The ILP is a proposal in the joint resolution where large energy users would disconnect from the grid and instead run on their own generators. In return, they would get paid for the costs of running their generators.

According to Wilford Wong, secretary general of CitizenWatch, they support the house version which provides that the additional costs of the ILP will be charged to the Malampaya fund.

“The power shortage is not the fault of the consumers and any additional costs should not be passed on to the already high price of electricity,” said Wong.

Aside from ILP Watch, the group is also set to launch Powerplant Watch, an information advocacy project that will help consumers understand our energy situation in the country.

This project aims to monitor the power situation and unscheduled shutdowns of power plants that might trigger spikes in the price of electricity.

“This will hopefully discourage price manipulation in the WESM by power generating companies who might take advantage of the power shortage,” Wong added. This is set to run by March up to June, 2015, Wong added.

CitizenWatch is an independent network which advocates the interests of citizen rights, especially against powerful interests.

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