Thursday, July 29, 2021

Pangan: Brownouts: Purveyors to summer heat

At Close Range

THE widely-read national broadsheet, Manila Bulletin, in its editorial of Thursday, June 3, 2021, announced it more forthrightly: Metro Manilans and other residents in the NCR-bubble expect more rotational brownouts daily for periods only the power providers know.

And these poor residents are already saddled with the heightened (read: stricter) general community quarantine classification.

For the rest of Luzon, rotational brownouts or outright prolonged brownouts in major areas of the Luzon island, the residents will be inconvenienced by these festering outages which could have been avoided if the power supplier authorities did their homework.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines has warned of "red alert" conditions in the Luzon grid last April yet because of simultaneous outage of power plants.

The duty of overseeing constant power supply to households and other consumers, of course, falls squarely on the lap of the Department of Energy but this perennially inefficient department just played the blame game instead of requiring the massive rehabilitation of ageing power plants.

Reportedly, the 137 power plants in the Luzon grid are at least 15 years old and, therefore, need massive rehabilitation efforts.

Still, the Philippines lags further behind its Asean and Asian neighbors in providing uninterruptible and sufficient electric power service to its residents despite the presence of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), which aims to rationalize and strengthen the electric power industry. The result is not encouraging despite the enactment of the law.


There are other government agencies which hold a stake on electric power.

One is the Energy Regulatory Commission which oversees the operations of power generation companies (gencos).

Lately, it had served summons to them and asked them to explain the unplanned outages that breached the maximum allowable unplanned outages days per year.


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