(DOE Seal)

(DOE Seal)

(NAGA CITY) The Department of Energy (DOE) will be presenting an immediate solution to the Mindanao power problem to relieve businesses from frequent power outages, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday.

It was reported that Mindanao businessmen have called on the President to use his emergency power to solve the power crisis in the region, which may affect trade as well as the upcoming elections in May.

The Chief Executive noted that the DOE made an assurance that major dams will have enough supply of water to ensure that there’s electricity particularly during the elections.

The problem in the hydroelectric system is siltation because of river waste in addition to illegal logging that destroys the region’s watershed, thus affecting the ability to generate electricity.

According to the President, the immediate solution will probably be diesel-powered generators, adding that diesel-powered plants of barges could be assembled immediately.

“May kailangan ng aksyon from Congress—joint resolution, I understand, to authorize us to purchase. Under EPIRA [Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001], hindi na kasi puwedeng bumili ng generating capacity ulit ang gobyerno,” he explained.

But once that is done, it will serve as a stopgap measure of the government, he added.

The President cited two schemes, he explained. One is either government buys it, or we will be renting from those that have the generating capacity to remedy power shortages in Mindanao, he said.

The government could also opt to cease using electricity from diesel-powered plants because of the high cost of electricity. Private companies will start generating cheaper power by 2014 and 2015 and diesel-powered generators will be towed to missionary areas or Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) areas, the President said.

He pointed out that the government is also imposing penalties and fines on those overdrawing beyond their stated use limits, he said.

For instance, the President said that Zamboanga City, located at the end of the grid, is getting less power because other areas closer to the grid are getting too much energy.

“Nakakawawa ang Zamboanga City, in particular, naubos na lahat bago umabot sa kanila, so sila ang pinakakawawa,” he noted.