Why should DOE scare electric consumers?-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
BAD NEWS. Yes. Under Jose Rene Almendras, Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE), the department has practically done nothing but scare power consumers, say many observers.
“Luzon power shortage looms in 2015, SBMA Urged (by DoE) to allow construction of 600 MW plant,” 20 June 2012, PDI. PDI June 27, 2012 issue: “Malampaya shut down to hike Luzon rates,” “Rotating brownouts threaten Luzon”. June, 2012 PDI. “Another Mindanao Power shortage feared”. 21 May 2012, PDI. “PSALM seeks hike power rates in Luzon”. June 9, 2012 PDI. “Luzon power supply still critical” 23 June, 2012, PDI. Repeat: THE ABOVE SCARE NEWS ALL CAME FROM the Dept. of Almendras!
And the scariest of all news: DoE under Almendras is pushing for the sale of the Agus hydropower complex the cheapest, only about P 1/KWH is the cost of production according to the chair of the Mindanao Development Authority. This is in spite of the resolution of most Mindanao governors to P-Noy to keep it! There appears to be rush in selling it, possibly before Almendras is changed.
Now the good news: Former Finance Undersecretary Noel Bonoan is set to be named as next energy chief “Cabinet reshuffle on amid denials” 14 June, 2012 PDI.
This is most welcome news to electricity consumers, according to many observers. They say that for as long as Sec. Almendras is at the helm of DoE, and all those in the cahoots with him, the power rates in the country will continue to skyrocket! The reason, they say is that he does not believe on hydropower. He resorts to scaring to push his greed to favor coal power, which is 3 or 4 times more costly than hydropower. They say he does not know the run of the river or series hydropower systems which could multiply the present power generated 5 times or more from the same river, dam systems!
Ms. Lu Antono, Chair of Mindanao Development Authority says that the Agus & Pulangi Hydropower plants in Lanao & Bukidnon, respectively, are earning billions of pesos yearly, contrary to the claims of PSALM. She says that PSALM uses the income from the hydros to subsidize the expensive coal & diesel plants in Misamis. PSALM has allowed the hydro plants to deteriorate, she claims. She further said that if the money earned by the hydros were only used for repair/maintenance of the hydroplants, they should be 100% fully functioning and therefore, no power deficit in Mindanao! This has cost hundreds of millions of pesos of businessmen & consumers forced to buy from expensive diesel powered plants.
Many consumers are mad. They want the officials responsible for the mess to be prosecuted for economic sabotage, a non-bailable crime!
But the big question is. Will our favorite fighter, Justice Sec. Leila de Lima willing to push for the cases? We still believe P-Noy is all for “matuwid na daan”. He has just cleared the sacking of 31 DENR officials in Mindanao for colusion another big question of the consumers however is “Why is P-Noy prolonging our sufferings? (Dr. Ed Araral)
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 10, 2012.