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P4P: Persistent red, yellow alerts affirm urgency of transitioning away from fossil fuels

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Consumer group Power for People Coalition (P4P) on April 16 pressed the Philippine government to take the transition away from expensive and unreliable fossil fuels seriously, in light of the red and yellow alerts issued today.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announced earlier that the Luzon and Visayas grids will be placed under red and yellow alerts. A total of 2,117.3 MW and 676.5 MW of power will be unavailable to the Luzon and Visayas grids respectively, after power plants went on forced outage or derated capacity.

“Thirty nine power plant units all over the country conking out at the same time is unprecedented, this may be the first time this has ever happened. There should be widespread outage outrage as this is the direct result of two factors: continued addiction to fossil fuels and the government’s refusal to heed civil society’s pleas to properly prepare for El Niño,” P4P Convenor Gerry Arances said.

Among the power plants that went on forced outage are units of Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd (San Miguel), Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. (DMCI), and TLI Pagbilao (TeaM Energy/AboitizPower). The three generation companies run on coal and are among the perennial culprits of outages since 2016.

“These companies are getting mere slaps on the wrist despite being repeat outage offenders while consumers are forced to pay more because distribution utilities like Meralco have to buy from the spot market. The government should do more to hold these companies accountable and quit promoting fossil fuel as a source of electricity,” Arances said.

“The government needs to wake up and get with the program: fossil fuel dependence leads to costly and undependable energy. The long-term solution is obvious to anyone not blinded by fumes from fossil fuels: transitioning to renewable energy is the only solution,” Arances said.

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