Job cuts feared due to brownouts-A A +A
Sunday, April 1, 2012
FORMER Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri has warned of potential job losses due to the persistent two to four-hour daily brownouts in many parts of Mindanao.
“National agencies should find ways to help distressed economic sectors cope with the constant brownouts,” Zubiri said.
“The Department of Labor and Employment in particular should ensure that the feared dislocation of workers is minimized,” he added.
Citing National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) data, Zubiri said that as of Thursday, Mindanao had a power supply deficit of 187 megawatts (MWs), or roughly 15 percent of peak system demand.
The power-intensive industries hurt by the recurring brownouts include food processing and canning; rice, corn and coconut milling; construction; metal die casting; and the manufacture of steel, chemicals, cement and paper, Zubiri said.
Shopping malls and other commercial buildings that rely heavily on ventilation and cooling have also been affected, according to the former senator from Mindanao.
“Agricultural plantations and fishing operations that depend on mechanization and cold-storage have likewise been dampened down,” Zubiri said.
Even the petroleum and water industries have been impaired, since they depend on electricity to drive pumping operations, he pointed out.
“In fact, in some communities, access to household, irrigation and industrial water has been reduced due to the brownouts,” he added.
Zubiri said he is not worried about mining companies, which have their own power stations to service their electricity requirements.
The Department of Energy previously said it does not expect a permanent solution to Mindanao’s power shortage until some 258 MWs of additional generating capacity are installed by 2014.
Zubiri earlier warned of “catastrophic” brownouts in Mindanao lasting up to eight hours daily by April, due to higher demand for electricity associated with the summer season. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 02, 2012.