President Aquino tours and views the exhibit on the promotion and advancement of solutions and initiatives on energy efficiency during the Energy Smart Philippines (ESPhil) 2014 in Pasay City (MNS photo)

President Aquino tours and views the exhibit on the promotion and advancement of solutions and initiatives on energy efficiency during the Energy Smart Philippines (ESPhil) 2014 in Pasay City (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday assured private sector stakeholders that the government is ensuring the country’s energy security amid a looming power crisis next summer.

During the Energy Smart Philippines conference in Pasay City, Aquino vowed government support for efforts to tap renewable energy sources, which he said can produce 9,931 megawatts by 2030.

“As early as now, it is of absolute importance to continue exploring and investing on clean and renewable energy sources,” the President said.

He added that the Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to its energy efficiency program, which aims to reduce the country’s power consumption.

At the same time, Aquino assured the private sector that the emergency powers he is asking from Congress to avert a power crisis next summer will not be abused.

“Government intervention is meant only to address the shortage. The sole goal of this initiative is to ensure that our economy does not lose its momentum in the event of an energy shortage,” he said.

Aquino is asking Congress for authority to contract additional generating capacity to address the 300-megawatt (MW) projected deficit for next year, and to generate another 300 MW in power reserves.

The President intends to invoke Section 71 or the Electric Power Crisis Provision under Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

Senate President Franklin Drilon earlier expressed willingness to heed Aquino’s request, although Senate energey committee chairman Sergio Osmeña III said other options are available to the government to deal with the looming power crisis.

On the other hand, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, Aquino’s ally, wanted to clarify why the government will have to rent the additional generating capacity for 2 years, when it is only needed for 3 months.

House energy committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali, for his part, warned of daily three-hour brownouts next summer if the government fails the avert the power crisis. (MNS)