A consumer group explicitly blamed the Department of Energy (DOE) for the rotational brownouts in Luzon this week, which shocked and angered residents, especially as it coincided with the heat of the weather and quarantine.
Laban Konsyumer president Vic Dimagiba said that as of April 15, the DOE already knew that there was a red alert on the Luzon grid from May 28 to June 10.
According to Dimagiba, the DOE should have monitored the listed plants and looked into why there is a power interruption even though it is clear in the guidelines that there should be none from April to June.
“Yang 3 buwan sa isang taon na ‘yan, dapat free ‘yan, walang plantang nagmi-maintain, ginawa mo na ‘yung maintenance mo before or after this 3-month period, di nila ginawa ‘yun dahil ‘yung nakaambang forecast [binalewala]. Anong klaseng trabaho ‘yun?” said Dimagiba.
“Hindi sana ito nangyari kung ginawa ng DOE ‘yung kanyang mandate, ‘yung kanyang trabaho,” he added.
Dimagiba also disobeyed the Energy Regulatory Commission’s order for the plants to explain what happened.
He insisted that the plants should be fined immediately and pointed out that there should not have been rotational brownouts.
DOE blamed for rotational brownouts in Luzon
Even Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy panel, is convinced the DOE should be blamed for the power supply glitch.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi apologized for the rotating brownout and denied that he neglected his job due to politics.
“Those power plants broke down na nagkataon naman po, natiyempo na we have a meeting in Cebu. But it doesn’t mean na napapabayaan ko because I’m not the only guy that is running DOE,” said Cusi.
According to Dr. Carlo Arcilla, director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, there is a high probability of another rotational brownouts in the coming years.
Apart from the fact that the Philippines relies on coal and oil imports, natural gas in Malampaya is also declining.
“If you look at the power mix, it is alarming. Our coal is imported. Natural gas, ang gusto ng DOE, import ulit. You cannot make wind and solar replace all of this,” he said.