Gatchalian seeks Senate probe on sufficiency of power supply on 2022 national elections
Despite pronouncements that there will be no brownouts during the week of the May 2022 elections, Senator Win Gatchalian wants the Senate to conduct an inquiry on the plans and preparations of the Department of Energy (DOE) and other stakeholders to ensure the uninterrupted electricity supply.
“It is crucial that programs are already in place, taking into account all eventualities to guarantee continuous supply of electricity during the 2022 automated elections. We must ensure the credibility and transparency in the conduct of elections as well as the delivery of fast and accurate results reflective of the genuine will of the people,” Gatchalian said in filing Senate Resolution No. 867.
While the DOE already assured that there will be no yellow alerts and power interruptions during the election week as the initial outlook shows sufficient supply, Gatchalian emphasized that the said outlook does not take into consideration the forced and unplanned outages of power plants and the declining supply from the Malampaya gas field.
The Senate Energy Committee Chairperson cited the rotational brownouts during the summer of 2019 and the period from March to May this year that were attributed to unplanned outages and derating of power plans, among other reasons.
“Power interruptions last summer happened despite earlier statements from the DOE that it was optimistic that the country will not encounter major challenges or any alerts that may result in insufficiency of supply’,” he pointed out.
Gatchalian also noted reports on DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi, when he appeared in a Congressional hearing last July 30, being non-committal in ensuring a brownout-free national and local elections next year while some DOE officials were quoted saying that there will be “thinning of supply on election day and thereafter.”
The DOE is mandated to ensure the reliability, quality, and security of electric power supply and exercise supervision and control over all government activities relative to energy projects, he said.
“Kaya tayo merong DOE para siguraduhing meron tayong kuryente sa lahat ng pagkakataon. Iyan ang pangunahing trabaho ng DOE. Kaya hindi katanggap-tanggap kung ngayon pa lang ay hindi natin mapaghandaan ang sapat na suplay ng kuryente pagdating ng eleksyon na isang mahalagang kaganapan sa kasaysayan ng bansa,” Gatchalian concluded.
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