Senator Idol Raffy Tulfo called for a Senate investigation into the persistent and recurring power outages and rotational blackouts in the different parts of the country, as well as the rising cost of electricity amid these power interruptions.
Tulfo, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Energy, filed Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 107 seeking to find an immediate solution to an impending energy crisis and adopt necessary legislative measures that will provide long-term energy security, sufficiency and stability to all Filipinos.
“Hindi ko tatantanan itong problemang ito hanggang hindi nabibigyan ng solusyon. Tamaan na ang dapat tamaan. Sagasaan na ang dapat sagasaan, para sa kapakanan at ikabubuti ng mga taong nire-represent ko at ng mga taong bumoto sa akin,” he said in a press conference held at the Senate Press Office after the filing of the Proposed Resolution yesterday, Aug. 8.
In filing PSR No. 107, Tulfo cited various reports claiming that by early to mid-2022, the Philippines might be in for a serious energy crisis, with allegations of thinning power reserves, outdated energy system and the impending depletion of the Malampaya gas fields.
The most perplexing concerns relative to the alleged forthcoming energy crisis are the cases of Oriental Mindoro and Albay, with reports of power and electric supply interruptions pervasive almost every day in these provinces, thus, power outages unreasonably becoming a way of life to their residents.
In June 2022, at least 78 power interruption notices were announced by APEC (Albay Power and Energy Corp.) on its social media account, with at least 39 of those were scheduled power interruptions and there were 37 emergency power interruptions.
Both Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, meanwhile, have been enduring six to 14 hours of power outages every day since June 27 causing shortage in power supply affecting over a million of its residents.
“This problem has been going on again and again. Ito pa ang masaklap, pagdating ng oras ng bayaran ng kuryente, mataas ang singil sa consumers at mayroon pang pagbabanta, sa mga residente ito ng Mindoro, na kapag hindi ka nagbayad on time doon sa mataas na singil ng kuryente, ay puputulan ka ng linya,” he said.
“Adding insult to the injury, napag-alaman ko, base sa isang reklamo sa aking program na ‘Wanted sa Radyo,’ na mayroon pang gana at kapal ng mukha itong mga taga-Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative o ORMECO na magpadagdag ng kanilang sweldo at bonus,” he added.
In his Resolution, Tulfo said the inexplicable power supply interruptions and power rate hikes have caused enormous discomfort, disturbance, and inconvenience to the Filipino people, essentially robbing them of their Constitutional right to quality life.
Aside from consumers in Albay and Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, residents of Camarines Norte , Laoag City and Olongapo City have also demanded explanations from authorities, particularly from electric cooperatives, on the rising rates of electricity despite scarcity in supply.
There were also numerous complaints regarding unfair electricity charges and power outages, particularly from the consumers of Oriental Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Northern Samar, Pampanga, Batangas, Quezon Province, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Laguna, Zamboanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Isabela, Masbate, Aurora, Bicol, Southern Leyte and Davao Oriental, abound in different social media forums.