Power coops: Don't blame us, it's Epira-A A +A
Sunday, May 4, 2014
THE Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (Amreco) lambasted Sunday the tight regulations imposed on power distributors, saying these are what delayed them from tapping more power sources.
This was what Amreco president Sergio Dagooc said in response to President Benigno Aquino III's statement blaming electric cooperatives for being "too slow" in addressing the power woes in Mindanao.
He said Republic Act (RA) 9136, or the Energy Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001, has "over regulated" the electric cooperatives.
"It is not us who is delaying. It is Epira's over regulation on us. It takes too long to get approval from ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) before you can operate an already operational power plant," he said.
For instance, Dagooc said they are still required to get an approval from ERC before running an existing power plant.
"In the case of existing power plant, it will still require to apply a permit with ERC as a generator before it can operate," he said.
Contracting more power is also not an easy process, as electric cooperatives have to get another ERC approval and that a public hearing is conducted to thresh out on the matter.
The executive added that electric cooperatives follow the same bidding process as the government's procurement policy, taking so much time before they can even tap other available resources.
Amreco is also bracing for the reported looming El Niño to hit this June.
"Other EC's have already bidded, installed or have pending applications for PPSA (Power Purchase Sale Agreement) approval and we have started negotiating last April 29 a 70-MW power barge from the US and land-based power plant which is available in 90 to 120 days," he said.
In a report on GMA news, cooperatives were advised last year to purchase generators to ease the power deficit on the island. However, they only heeded Aquino's call this year.
"At present, I am still optimistic that the DOE of the office of the president will heed to our request to resolve permitting and other bureaucratic processes which cause the delays and worsen the shortage," he said.
According to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) as of Sunday, Mindanao had 1,120 megawatts system capacity, but the demand reached 1,348 MW, resulting in 228 power deficit.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 05, 2014.