Tuesday, 10 April 2012 11:47
Party List Rep. Teddy Casiñotoday expressed fears that the upcoming Mindanao Power Summit was already adone deal, with agreements to jack up power rates in Mindanao and put upenvironmentally-hazardous coal plants already sealed during a pre-summit meetingorganized by the Department of Energy last week.
Casiño aired his apprehension upon learning that in an April 4 pre-summit meeting in Davao, DOE Sec. JoseRene Almendras ordered Mindanao electric cooperatives to buy expensive power from privatized power barges at P14 kWh, with government shouldering the P9/kWh diesel cost. The secretary also reportedly ordered local government officials to immediately approve the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) for at least two new coal fired power plants in Mindanao.
“If that is the case, then the power summit would just be a rubber stamp for DOE circular DC 2012–03-0004 which forces consumers to pay an additional 50 to 80 centavos per kWh for theirelectricity due to the manipulations of favored private power generators likeTherma Marine, Inc. owned by the Aboitizes, ” he said.
"The summit is also meant to convince the people of Mindanao of the supposed need to deploy more coal-fired and diesel power plants despite Mindanao's abundance in clean and renewable energy sources," he lamented.
The lawmaker said he found it strange that government is willing to subsidize diesel power at P9/kWh when it would be cheaper and sustainable to subsidize solar and other renewable energy sources. "Is there a conspiracy to ram fossil-fuel power as the solution? Would this not reduce the power summit to a farce, giving Mindanao consumers no choice but to stick to more expensive, dirty, non-renewable power?” asked the progressive lawmaker.
He accused the DOE of blackmail for saying that Mindanaoans have to pay for expensive, fossil-fuel based poweror nothing at all. "What makes Mindanao different from Visayas and Luzon is its rich potential for renewable energy - from solar, hydro, geothermal to biomass. Why not tap these instead of the more expensive and dirty fossil fuel technologies?" he stressed.
He described the impact of the government's solution as heavy. "In terms ofprice, its P50-P80 additional for those who consume 100 kWh per month,P100-P160 for those who consume 200 kWh and so forth. This is on top of the approved increase by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for Napocorgeneration rates” said Casiño.
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