Enough power supply during polls – DOE chief
By Donnabelle Gatdula
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Jose Ibazeta has assured the public of enough supply of power during the election period.
“Just to make sure the plants are running well and mitigating it by looking at embedded generators. Everything is planned, and the generators have been maintained now in preparation for the elections. We have identified the embedded generators,” Ibazeta said.
He said what he’s really worried about is the power situation in Mindanao, especially with the elections just over a month away.
“I have no issue in Luzon and Visayas. The issue really is Mindanao,” he said.
Power deficiency in Mindanao remains at more than 500 megawatts. Blackouts lasting up to eight hours plague Mindanao almost daily.
Ibazeta said measures are being taken to address the problem, like rehabilitating plants.
“We are going to run at full capacity the Iligan (power plant). We will rehabilitate that (Iligan) in time for May,” he said.
He said the private sector is also deeply involved in alleviating the problem.
He said the government’s participation in private sector-led initiatives is through financing by state-owned financial institutions.
“I understand they’re in talks with DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) and LBP (Land Bank of the Philippines) for financing. It’s all up to them,” he said.
“On deployment of generator sets, that’s already between the cooperative and proponent,” he said.
But Ibazeta stressed that Mindanao’s power problem requires a long-term solution.
“This (Mindanao power) is a medium- and long-term issue. What I’m doing is paving the way to address the long-term issue,” he said.
Ibazeta is an advocate of alternative source of power for Mindanao, whose energy needs are mostly supplied by hydroelectric plants.
“There are long-term possibilities that can happen. There must be other alternatives that we can look at, whether geothermal or other coal-based plants,” Ibazeta said.
He said there are available technologies offering cleaner energy sources, even for coal.