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PIA Press Release

Biz groups, major industries cite ways to solve Mindanao power crisis

Butuan City (March 25) -- With the continuing power crisis in Mindanao, big business groups and major industries in Northeastern and Northern Mindanao regions called on the national government to come up with short-term and long-term solutions to address the energy shortfall in the southern island.

The association of wood industries and association of mining industries and agriculture group in the Caraga region and Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce spread all over the region also asked various electric cooperatives to help the state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) and National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) ease the current power crisis.

The business group and major business players in the region and this capital city feared that the power problem might even last up to 2015.

"This is very alarming," said a Chinese businessman and member of a business chamber here who requested anonymity.

Technical staff and engineers of Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (Aneco), led by general manager Horacio T. Santos, are currently doing their best to mitigate the power problem as they court the Aboitiz Power Corp. to buy some 10 megawatt from their fossil fed-plant stationed at Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

Meanwhile, three business organizations in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental on Wednesday have unanimously called on the government to come up immediate and long-term solutions to address the Mindanao energy problem.

In a joint resolution, the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (Oro Chamber), the PIE-MO Industries Association and the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Industries (Coci) said the energy shortfall had resulted in rotating power cut off, affecting the operation of industries, including the micro, medium and small sized enterprises (MSME's) where millions of pesos were already lost since January, this year.

They said economic activities in the island, particularly the agriculture-rich Northern Mindanao region, was severely affected by the power crisis.

The group came up with short-term and long-term recommendations to help solve the current power crisis.

They recommended the release of funds by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) for the dredging of Pulangi IV, which can provide an additional 255 megawatts (MW) capacity, and the full operation of the 100 MW Iligan Diesel Power Plant.

The group also recommended tax exemption or tax rebates for fuel purchases used for power generation for the duration of the crisis in Mindanao and for the NGCP to come up with a realistic forecast on the power shortage for the months of April to June, this year so that distribution utilities can efficiently schedule their power curtailments.

The business group also asked the distribution utilities and grid connected industries to enter into bilateral contracts for the purchase or lease of power barges (bunker fuel) rather than modular generation sets (diesel) that are more expensive. They also called for the lowering of tariffs in the purchase of generating sets.

The joint resolution was signed by Jerome Soldevilla, president of COCI; Augustus N. Adis, president of PIE-MO Industries Association; and Jaime Rafael U. Paguio, president of the Oro Chamber.

As this developed, hydroelectric power plants in Lake Lanao and Pulangi plants in Bukidnon are still suffering low water level brought about by El Nino weather disturbance.

On Thursday, an NGCP advisory showed the power deficiency in Mindanao was still at 769 MW out of 1,279 MW Mindanao's peak load.

Though there were incidence of rainfall in several areas of the island, water supplies in major lakes and rivers throughout Mindanao region continue to suffer from El Niņo, leaving the island's energy supply still unstable. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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