House to probe new power plants delay

THE House committee on energy will investigate the alleged regulatory delays in the installation of new power plants that could soon trigger Luzon-wide rotating blackouts.

“The House resolution enabling the energy committee to conduct the inquiry is ready for filing. We will file it on July 1 – the first day of the new Congress,” said House Deputy Minority Leader and Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr.

“We have to avert the approaching shortage if we want the economy to grow at the optimal annual rate of 6.5 percent or higher and create enough new jobs in the years ahead,” said Campos.

“The incoming Congress has to look into the supposed regulatory issues that have set back the construction of additional power plants,” said Campos.

Campos was responding to the warning issued by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) that Luzon could face “rotating blackouts” starting next year until 2022 due to holdups in the setting up of new power plants amid rising demand.

“We are going to face rotating blackouts in 2020, 2021 and 2022,” warned SMC president Ramon Ang.

“There is already a looming shortage that is why (electricity) prices in the spot market are high,” said Ang.

Ang said the construction of extra power plants in the pipeline since 2016 has been stalled by regulatory risks, including delays in the issuance of the required environmental compliance certificates (ECCs).