Press Release
February 12, 2010

Villar calls for action plan vs brownouts

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday called for a revision of the contingency plan for El Niño to include an emergency plan for the power sector in the wake of frequent brownouts in many parts of the country.

Villar said the government should now spell out its intervention plan for the power sector as its current mitigation program heavily focused on the agriculture sector.

"This problem needs adequate preparation as this is a year in year out headache," he said.

Noting that the energy sector plays crucial roles in economic development, Villar warned of serious economic downturn if the government would fail to immediately respond to the power crisis caused by dry spell conditions.

"We have to live up to the challenges of this natural occurrence. Let's not allow the political noise to distract us from acting on this serious problem now," Villar said.

Reports said a two-hour rotating brownout looms in many parts of Luzon due to maintenance shutdown, technical problems and low water levels from the El Niño phenomenon.

At least nine towns in the province of North Cotabato were affected by a series of power fluctuations last week due to power generation deficiency, which were blamed on low water level in dams and lakes caused by dry spell conditions.

The Mindanao power grid was placed under "red alert status" as water elevation of Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur and Pulangi River in Bukidnon-two major sources of hydroelectric power in the region-hit the critical level due to the dry spell.

Also last week, several parts of Metro Manila as well as some areas in Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite experienced rotating brownouts after the Manila Electric Company implemented manual load dropping as a result of the tripping of the unit 1 of the 1,000 megawatt Sual coal-fired power facility.

Further compounding this was the report that several hydroelectric power plants in the country suffered from "low water levels" due to dry spell conditions.

In Metro Manila, distribution utilities Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. have asked state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) to stop getting water from the Angat Dam for its power generation due to declining water level in the dam, the main source of water supply for 15 million residents of Metro Manila.

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