House Commitee to DOE: stop electricity spot market in Mindanao

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/09 March) — The House Committee on Energy expects the Department of Energy to carry out their resolution stopping the electricity spot market in Mindanao “as soon as possible,”  Representative Rufus Rodriguez (2nd district, Cagayan de Oro) said Saturday.

“We expect Energy Secretary Petilla to carry out our resolution immediately as soon as he receives a copy from us,” Rodriguez said.

“It was very clear that all of those who attended the public hearing were against the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market,” he added.

He said Petilla met with several members of the energy committee before Thursday’s public hearing and told them he has no objection if the IMEM will be suspended.

Petilla, who was invited to the public hearing, was not able to attend.

The House Committee on Energy  chaired by Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd  District, Oriental Mindoro) recommended the suspension of the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM) after consumers and utility distributors voiced their objections to the power spot trading scheme during a public hearing in Cagayan de Oro last  Thursday.

“It was very clear at the public hearing that the IMEM will not serve the best interests of the Mindanao power consumers,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez added that presentations by the academic sector and industry executives “clearly showed” that the electricity market is susceptible to price manipulation.

“Instead of cheap electricity, Mindanao consumers will have to pay  an exorbitant rate of P32 per kilowatt hour,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, a member of the energy committee said  Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla should order a stop to the trading and place all available supply of electricity in the Mindanao grid to stave off rotational brownouts that have been plaguing the island.

A Mindanao-wide blackout occurred on February 27 but until now (see separate story), investigations as to the cause of the power outage have yet to be completed. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)