Press Release
February 25, 2010

Villar vows reforms to solve power crisis

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday vowed to work for the full and immediate privatization of all National Power Corp. (Napocor) power plants and power purchase agreements as a major step to solve the country's energy problems particularly in Mindanao.

"Fully implement the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) law which provides for the full privatization of Napocor's power plants, as well as all PPAs. This is priority A-1 under my presidency," Villar said.

He explained that the power situation in Mindanao continues to worsen because the government has been unable to institute measures to bring in investments in the power sector.

The last power plant that was opened in Mindanao was in 2007 when a coal-fired plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental was inaugurated.

Other proposed power plants like the 42.5-megawatt (MW) hydropower plant in Sibulan, Davao del Sur and the 27-MW Tamugan hydropower plant in Davao City will still take years before coming on-stream, while a 200-MW coal-fired plant in Maasim, Sarangani is expected to start operations by 2012.

"Mindanao continues to labor under a lack of investments in its power sector. This has discouraged many investors from setting up factories and economic zones in the region. I intend to pave the way for these investors to come in and generate economic activity and jobs in the region," Villar said.

At the same time, the NP presidential candidate pledged to prioritize the development of alternative energy in the country by creating pilot sites in Mindanao.

"I will task agencies like the Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Science and Technology to draw up an alternative energy master plan and develop pilot projects in Mindanao," Villar said.

"We have to create a framework for our future energy supply for sustainable economic growth. We will assure a stable and affordable supply of power that can transform Mindanao into a truly viable investment center in Southeast Asia," he added.

At the same time, Villar said the development of alternative energy will lessen the country's dependence on imported oil.

In 2007, oil accounted for 55.9 percent of the country's energy demand followed by coal at 23.9 percent), gas (12.4 percent) and hydro electric energy (7.8 percent). The power supply in Mindanao continues to worsen as the shortage has now hit 358 MW, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Save for Davao City, which still has adequate power supply, most provinces in Mindanao are now experiencing rotating brownouts of between four to eight hours.

NGCP data showed that the available capacity on the island was now only 842 MW as against peak demand of 1,200 MW.

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