WORRIES of a looming crisis in the country’s supply of electricity have provided schemers and the naïve a chance to advance dubious proposals.

Worry is a cousin of fear, and both cloud an objective view of a situation.

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Thus, in a previous shortage of power supply episode, nobody looked deeply into how the then administration of Fidel V. Ramos “solved” the problem.

It was only years after that we realized that we`ve been had by independent power producers that made a killing in profit at the expense of poor consumers.

That’s why people are cool to the proposal of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to give President Arroyo emergency powers to deal with the looming power crisis.

Two reasons for that: the FVR experience and Gloria.

People’s lack of trust in her is this president’s problem.


But onerous contracts are not the only by-products of worries and fears of a power crisis overpowering our objective appraisal of proposed solutions to the problem.

Consider the proposals themselves.

In Cebu, opposition to the construction of additional coal-fired power plants has been drowned by the same worry of a looming shortage in the supply of electricity.

For sometime, a good number of people thought that environmentalists may have a point about the ecological havoc the power plants may bring on their surrounding.

But with the rotating brownouts, environmentalists who oppose the construction of coal-fired power plants can now be believably dubbed as “killjoy.”

No joke

The other proposal: construction of a nuclear power plant in Cebu.

Now, this one is farfetched but there are sectors who embrace the idea and its relative, the much ballyhooed proposal to put into operation the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

Indeed, with stability of power supply a recent concern in the country, turning romantic about nuclear power may not be objectionable.

But that romanticism could spell disaster if blindly realized, like what the dictator Ferdinand Marcos attempted to do with the BNPP.

Nuclear power plants are not only costly, they are difficult to set-up, operate and maintain---in short, owning them is no joke.


And those who know that are asking why such an idea has been raised in the first place.

That question even becomes more compelling because the world is now moving away from coal-fired power plants and even nuclear power plants (in its present problematic state) to renewable sources of energy (hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, ocean).

Indeed, tapping renewable energy sources has been the mantra of even the Department of Energy (DOE) and yet the idea seemed to have not seeped to the level of local governments.

Worse, DOE itself has been a laggard in realizing the shift away from traditional sources of energy, like those that rely on fossil fuel.