Rotational brownouts ‘man-made’

THE rotational brownouts that have been widely experienced in Mindanao because of the looming power crisis are simply man-made, a renewable energy advocate said.

Engr. David Tauli, speaker of the upcoming 2nd Mindanao Congress for Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification & Development (MinCared), said the problem is only artificial as he blamed the errors to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm).

He said the power problem in Mindanao has its two parts: the short term, which results to rotating blackouts, and the long-term, which is the insufficient power capacity to meet the growing needs of Mindanao.

“Be aware that Mindanao brownouts are a man-made problem, artificial, and due of course to low water level, but it was caused essentially by the errors of Psalm,” Tauli said.

In a press conference, Tauli, also the spokesperson of the Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers (MCPC), criticized the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed solutions to the two problems–acquiring modular generator sets (genset) and the construction of coal plants in Mindanao.

The congress will be held on May 27-28, 2013 with the theme: “Mainstreaming the Mindanao Power Agenda: Reliable, Affordable and Sustainable Power Supply in Mindanao.”

Tauli said the DOE is pushing electric cooperatives to purchase modular gensets in order to solve the rotating brownouts while the government’s plan for construction of coal-fired plants is yet to be realized.

“But I would like to point out that the solution to this is P18 per kilowatt hour (kwh), according to the words of Secretary Petilla himself. It (government) is only pushing for the construction of coal plants in Zamboanga, Maasin province and Davao that will cost us P6.00/kwh and will be increasing every year since every year the coal fuel increases,” Tauli said.

Tauli said the government is preventing the construction of renewable energy despite the fact which shows that the people are for it.

During the Congress, Tauli said, he will be presenting the people’s solution in contrast to the government’s plan.

“The short-term solution is for the electric coop to purchase hybrid solar power generating facilities which will only cost P8/kwh while the long-term solution will be the development of renewable energy power plants with the combination of hydro, wind and solar that will only cost less than P4/kwh,” he said.

Stanley Uriarte, chief executive officer of the Institute of Power Sector Economics and MinCared event organizer, also said the congress will also serve as venue to influence government policy vis-à-vis its policy in Mindanao.

“Mindanao has always been (behind) in terms of appropriation and priority in terms of budget and is often made as ‘laboratory’ for the government’s new policies in the context of managing resources, power resources, among others,” Uriarte said.

Uriarte said the Congress will also serve as a venue where people can participate in crafting their destiny in terms of economic upliftment.

“This is a venue where the government can also listen to the needs and perception of consumers in terms of affordability of energy power since oftentimes there is an error of policy and judgment of government where consumers are not well thought of,” Uriarte said.

MinCared is an annual event that gathers key decision makers, industry stakeholders, local government units, civil society organizations, consumer groups and business councils to hold plenary discussions, interactive dialogues networking sessions and focused group discussion.

Clint Django Pacana, congress secretary general, said the program intends to focus on seeking solutions on the challenges of meeting the demands for Mindanao’s power future and not just managing the crisis.

The event will also highlight effective responses and remedies with other key advocates to foster sustainable solutions.
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