Gov’t finalizing mechanism to acquire modular gensets for Mindanao—Aquino

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 April)– President Benigno Aquino III announced here Saturday that the government is now finalizing the mechanism for the planned acquisition and deployment of diesel-fed modular generator sets to help ease the prolonged daily rotating brownouts in the locality and in other key areas in Mindanao.

In a meeting with local government and community leaders at the Lagao gymnasium here, the President said the Department of Energy and other concerned agencies are specifically harmonizing some processes to facilitate the purchase of the generator sets.

“Bago pa ho matatapos ang 2013, meron na ho tayong makukuhang generators na pagdagdag dito po sa Mindanao (Before the end of 2013, we’ll have the needed generator sets to augment the power supply in Mindanao),” he said.

The President said the national government is setting the proper arrangements on the matter to avoid possible conflicts with the law.

Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, he said the National Power Corporation is prohibited from acquiring generator sets.

“We have the funds to purchase these generator sets. But we just want to make sure that we follow the right processes and the provisions of the law,” he said.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla recommended to the President late last month the purchase of the modular generator sets as a stopgap measure to address the worsening power shortage in the Mindanao grid that has led to daily rotating outages lasting seven hours in this city.

Petilla earlier said the acquisition of the generator sets would be coursed through the National Electrification Administration, which will then offer them to electric cooperatives through a soft financing scheme.

The President said the deployment of the modular generator sets will help Mindanao breeze through the current power crisis which, he stressed, will likely last until 2015 based on the government’s projections.

By 2015, he said Aboitiz Power’s coal-fired power plant in Davao City was targeted to go online with an additional 200 megawatts of base load supply to the Mindanao grid.

Aside from that, he said the construction of new power generating plants will continue in the next three years to ensure enough supplies for the island within the next decade.

“Tingin ko ho by 2015, hindi na natin ito problema at by 2017, sobra sobra na po ang inyong kuryente dito (I think by 2015, we’ll no longer have a power crisis and by 2017, you’ll have surplus power supplies here),” the President added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)