THE Department of Energy (DOE) is exploring the possibility of allowing electric cooperatives (ECs) to directly purchase the modular generation sets to address the power crisis hounding the Mindanao grid.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said they already met and received proposals from the private power firms on how they will solve and go about the power problem in the Mindanao region.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

Reyes said that during the meeting with the power firms, the Energy Committee, including the Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Finance and technical people, discussed "several options."

“They briefed us on how the private sector intends to participate with government in addressing the Mindanao power crisis,” Reyes told reporters.

“They have identified electric cooperatives they would want to address specifically. They have identified Zamboanga and South Cotabato areas. And we discussed the financial, regulatory, and technical aspects of it,” he added.

The energy chief noted there are several options that have been lined up and one of these is doing the acquisition of the modular generator sets directly through ECs, particularly those willing and able to do it, they may be the ones to import the generator sets themselves.

Reyes said there is also a proposal to do the importation of the generator sets through the National Electrification Administration (NEA) since Land Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines prefer to extend the loan through NEA.

“The information we have, that the GFIs (DBP and LB) are more at ease if they lend to government corporations such as NEA. All of these will have to be considered and we will find out the solutions that solves at the quickest possible time with maximum transparency and accountability,” he said.

Reyes admitted that "the situation in Mindanao continues to be serious" noting that brownouts in some areas remains to be from 5 to 7 hours while "some areas (continue to) experience 18 to 24 hours brownouts a day."

But he said they are doing all they can to ensure that power supply situation in Mindanao will be addressed the soonest possible time because they don’t want this to be the cause or be blamed for any failure of elections in the province.

“We are also addressing the matter of the elections. We want to be sure that power will not be the reason there should be any failure of elections. We want to bring power as soon as possible in Mindanao, particularly to ensure peaceful, honest and orderly elections and at the same ensure this is done with maximum transparency and accountability,” Reyes said.

Based on the monitoring conducted by the National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP), Mindanao grid remains to have generation deficiencies of nearly 700 megawatts due to the still low water reservoirs as a result of the prolong El Nino phenomenon.

Reyes vowed to prevent people from taking advantage of this power crisis situation in Mindanao, saying "we want to be sure that this concern about people making money out of this deal will not happen. We will impose stringent control and monitoring measures to make that will not happen." (MSN/Sunnex)