Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri is calling on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to solve the recurring blackouts in Western Visayas,
“The DOE and the NGCP must step up and answer for the massive blackouts hitting Western Visayas. These are no longer just an inconvenience. They are a major problem, affecting the economy and endangering the wellbeing of our people,” said Zubiri.
In late April, Western Visayas was hit by extensive blackouts, coinciding with the height of the summer season. The blackouts have also led to many smaller businesses cutting down their operating hours. In February, the region also suffered a power outage that lasted ten hours, caused by a snake intrusion in the Panay Diesel Power Plant 1, according to the NGCP.
“The frequency of these blackouts is alarming, and it is on the DOE and the NGCP to get their act straight and find long-term solutions already. A few minutes of power interruption every once in a while is understandable, but frequent outages that last for hours and hours and cause loss of income is unforgivable. The DOE and the NGCP must answer to consumers.
“If they find that we need to amend the EPIRA, then we are open to that. The law is over two decades old, and can definitely be improved to help the power sector serve consumers better, and to help prevent recurring region-wide blackouts like this,” said Zubiri.
“We have received the administration’s suggested amendments to the EPIRA, and we are already studying these, and seeing how these amendments can be further refined to best respond to the problems that we are hearing about from the power sector and especially from consumers.
“But the DOE and the NGCP must still come forward with a clear explanation behind the blackouts, and more importantly, outline a solution. We cannot let this be the norm. Our people deserve better than this kind of service.”