KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/05 September)—A former trial judge and now a city councilor has urged the Department of Energy (DoE) to resolve immediately the mandamus case that was referred to them in July by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 17 here.
In an interview over radio station dxND, councilor Francis Palmones said the Sangguniang Panlungsod could no longer allow the DoE to delay its decision on the mandamus.
“Our need to have this 25 percent load dispatch from the Mount Apo geothermal power plants is so immediate that we could not allow the DoE to delay its decision on the case,” said Palmones.
In July, RTC Branch 17 Judge Arvin Balagot has given the DoE a “concurrent jurisdiction” over the mandamus case and ordered the agency to decide on it within at least 10 days.
DoE officials contended that they should not be given a “timeline.”
They, however, did not cite as to when they would pen their decision, Palmones said.
In March 2012, former Kidapawan City vice mayor and now Mayor Joseph Evangelista filed a mandamus case to compel the DoE, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, National Power Corp., and the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) to dispatch to the Cotabato Electric Cooperative 25 percent of the load of the two geothermal power plants located at Barangay Ilomavis here.
Each geothermal power plant has a 50-megawatt (MW) capacity. The Lopez-led EDC owns the generation facility.
“With long brownouts facing us today, delaying the DoE’s decision is causing so many setbacks, not only to the business community but to every power consumer who had suffered so much,” Palmones stressed.
Since August, power consumers in the city have been suffering six to eight hours of daily brownouts.
“This is highly ironic. The city is host to 100 MW of geothermal plants, yet it is engulfed in darkness. We have no power,” the councilor said.
Palmones said the council, with the support from civil society groups and peoples’ organizations here, will seek for a speedy resolution of the case.
City councilor Ruby Padilla-Sison earlier passed a resolution urging President Aquino and other “power controllers” to immediately act on the demand for the locality’s priority load dispatch.
Sison cited as basis a provision from the DoE Act that said, “Host to power source is given, as a non-monetary benefit, 25 percent load dispatch in times of energy crisis.” (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)