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Murang Kuryente Partylist hits unscheduled power outages

MANILA --- Murang Kuryente Partylist (MKP) on Wednesday called out the Department of Energy (DOE) for lacking a clear strategy on how to address the unscheduled power plant shutdowns, which, in the last two days, have left the Luzon power grid scrambling for supply.

The partylist, formed by energy advocates, has previously questioned the timing of the scheduled maintenance shutdown of power plants, which was set during summer months or when the demand for power is normally at its peak.

“With all these unplanned power plant outages in the last two days, it seems that the DOE, like consumers, was also left in the dark,” said MKP nominee and longtime energy advocate Gerry Arances.

“The DOE also being at the mercy of these outages means it thinks that it doesn’t hold enough power over to conduct stricter actions against these power plant operators and hold them accountable,” he added. Several plants have undergone unplanned outages over the last two days, sending the Luzon power grid on “yellow alert”.

The affected power plants were the Pagbilao 3 (420 megawatts), Masinloc 2 (344 MW), Pagbilao 1 (382 MW), South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation plant (150 MW), Malaya thermal plant (350 MW).

Arances said these shutdowns will surely result to an increase in the electricity rates in the coming months. MKP maintains that the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has been using these shutdowns as an excuse to adjust their power rates to the disadvantage of consumers.

Last month, Meralco announced that its overall electricity rates will increase to P10.4961 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from February’s P10.4067 per kWh.

Meralco has blamed the increase to some of the power plants’ maintenance shutdowns from where it sources its supply.

“If there is one company surely benefiting from these shutdowns, it is Meralco. It’s only a matter of days before Meralco announces another power rate increase,” Arances said.

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