President Benigno Aquino III is seeking additional power capacity to head off a potentially crippling shortage next year in the main Philippine island of Luzon.
Aquino is asking authority from congress to build 600 megawatts of extra capacity in Luzon, which accounts for the bulk of the country’s gross domestic product, Bloomberg reported Friday.
He said the government will focus on the projected power shortage and has no plans to intervene in the electricity market.
The cost of the additional capacity will be passed on to consumers, who already pay one of the highest electricity rates in the region.
Aquino said the worst-case scenario is a shortfall of 1,000 megawatts if his plans fall through.
A 2001 law aimed at reforming the power sector prohibits the government from building new plants or contracting for more capacity unless a supply shortage is imminent.
Even with a looming shortage, congress needs to give the government authority to take action to ensure the measure will not result in undue competition for the private sector.
The government earlier tried to enlist the private sector to reduce pressure on the Luzon grid but Aquino said the private-sector commitments are not enough to meet anticipated needs.
He said an additional 300 megawatts are needed as a buffer during the hotter months when demand is highest and hydroelectric power plants don’t normally run.
As of June, the country’s total dependable capacity was 15,466 megawatts while peak demand is estimated to reach only 11,943 megawatts, the report said.
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