Business group to power firms: Follow outage schedules

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 May) — Power utilities should stick to their posted schedules of power interruptions to prevent further losses on the part of employers, the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PhilExport) said.

In an interview Monday at ”Kapehan sa Dabaw” at SM City Davao Annex, PhilExport president Ferdinand Maranon said their members have complained that the power interruptions have not been followed.

These have resulted in higher production costs as their workers have been asked to report at a certain time but do not get to work, he said.

Maranon said that his frozen banana export business itself is directly affected by the rotating brownouts, as the microwavable products require refrigeration along the production process.

His clients come from as far as the United States, Australia and Canada.

So far, he said there have not yet been reports of clients backing out from export products that have been delayed because of power interruptions.

“I hope they stick to a regular schedule, even if it takes eight hours. The businesses are being affected,” he said.

Maranon said their members could already have incurred losses of at least P1 million from the rotating brownouts. “I hope this changes soon,” he added.

The Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) in a statement said there were no rotating power interruptions during off-peak hours (12 midnight to 8am) from May 8 to 10.

This was due to the increased power supply allocation from National Power Corporation as one unit of the Steag coal plant was successfully put back online, adding 105 megawatts to the grid, the statement said.

DLPC also maximized other available power supply, such as those from Hedcor Sibulan and Talomo Hydropower plants and TMI and Bajada Power plants.

DLPC attributed the changing power interruption schedules to deteriorating power supply and its “very volatile behavior.”

The statement said they update their information once it becomes available.

The power utility also responded to the negative reactions posted by netizens regarding President Benigno S. Aquino III’s statement that Mindanao power consumers needed to “pay a little more”.

“This phrase does not refer to the distribution charge (the cost which goes to Davao Light),” DLPC said.

The utility said the investment into an expensive energy source such as the ones being used by Luzon and Visayas would increase the generation charge.

“But the good news is, yes there will be additional power supply in Mindanao, no more rotating brownouts but more expensive electricity rates.”

DLPC said it was “not in the position to implement this” as it is only a distribution utility, with the government being tasked to invest in alternative energy sources.

Distribution charges have to undergo approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Mindanao is experiencing a power crisis, we have insufficient power supply because no additional power plants are coming in until 2015,” it said.

“What we need now is a long-term solution for this looming power crisis, which we hope this is what the government is doing right now,” it added. (MindaNews)