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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, August 22, 2015
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Visayas power
state: ‘yellow alert'

“The problems of energy cannot just be solved by one department. These needs laws,” former Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla yesterday said during the Philippine Councilors League Credit Cooperative Summit at SMX Bacolod.

Petilla, who represented Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, said that before he left the DOE, he requested the President to protect the circulars he issued. These were game-changing circulars that will help electricity become more stable and cheaper, he said.

Three years after he became Energy Secretary, electricity rates in Manila significantly reduced because of an experiment they conducted with several families. This is what's going to happen with the circulars he issued and it can be replicated elsewhere, he said.

Petilla said it just needs discipline and no shady deals. Some people will oppose this, but a lot of people will support it.

If the circulars he issued are implemented, there will be an oversupply of power and power plants may have a problem of where to sell their supply, he said.

Meanwhile, Petilla also said the state of power in the Visayas is on “yellow alert.” It means the area does not suffer frequent brownouts. “If you experience tripping-off of electricity, it is because of the line, not because of the supply, he said.

The peak demand in the Visayas is at night time, while in Manila it is noontime. Petilla said.

They are banking on the new power plants that are coming in since Luzon cannot continue to supply power to the Visayas for many years in case it suffers problems, he said.

Petilla said he has just inaugurated a 49-megawatt power plant in Kabankalan City that will provide additional power, especially in Negros, since there are only a few plants here. Negros gets its supply from Iloilo, Cebu and Leyte, he said.

“They have a geothermal plant here but it cannot provide sufficient power supply to the entire island. There are prospective investors and we need to welcome them. If we rally against them, they will lose interest,” Petilla said.

There are also plants being built but most of them are not in Negros Island, he said, adding, “It is advantageous if a plant is near you.”

Petilla said Negros has become a center for solar power and many are investing here.

There is a French company that will put up a 132-megawatt solar plant in the province, he said.

“Any form of plant is an advantage but you have to balance it with other resources,” he added.*CGS






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