MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Friday urged the power industry to ensure a stable supply of electricity, especially during the dry months amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a press briefing, Ako Bisaya Rep. Sonny Lagon stressed the need to reduce the possibility of power outages during the imposition of community quarantine measures, which have compelled people to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Lagon said power interruptions are expected during summer months due to increased demand for cooling, such as ventilation and air conditioning systems, refrigeration, among others.
“Stable electricity is vital… especially now that we are experiencing this global pandemic… importante sana na walang brownout kasi ang mga tao ngayon nasa loob na ng bahay eh, naka stay at home tayo para makaiwas tayo sa pandemic (it is important to prevent brownouts because people are indoors, staying at home to avoid the pandemic),” Lagon said.
“This is crucial not only because we are in a pandemic that requires us to stay indoors, but because we are in the middle of summer where temperature is ridiculously high,” he added.
Lagon cited reports regarding an ongoing struggle of control in the distribution of electricity in Iloilo City that could affect the delivery of services to consumers.
He has called for a congressional investigation through House Resolution 875 concerning the legal battle between Panay Electric Company (PECO) and More Power and Electric Corporation to ensure that the public will not suffer and power distribution will be unhampered.
“There is a need for the House of Representatives to look into this to ensure that the supply of electricity in Iloilo City will not be affected and that the people of Iloilo City shall not suffer because of the legal battle between the two distribution utilities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca) Rep. Presley de Jesus assured that there is enough power supply during the quarantine period.
De Jesus noted that the energy demand has been balanced due to an increase in consumption in the residential sectors, while there was a decrease in the industrial and commercial sectors.
“As far as the energy is concerned, wala akong nakikitang problema (I don’t see any problem). We have enough power supply,” he said.
To mitigate the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic, de Jesus said Philreca’s foundation arm has pledged PHP12.1 million to all 121 electric cooperatives nationwide for a subsidy program designed for customers in rural areas.
Philreca’s Pantawid Liwanag program seeks to grant around PHP100,000 to each power co-op across the country.
A total of 121 rural cooperatives has committed to cover the cost of electricity of their poor customers with at least 20 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of consumption. (IA/PNA)