DoE backs probe on Or. Mindoro outages

The Department of Energy (DoE) said Tuesday it will support the investigation called by Senate Committee on Energy chairperson Senator Raffy Tulfo on the “unacceptable” power outages in Oriental Mindoro amid supply shortage.

As ordered by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Energy Secretary Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla said the DoE will push for initiatives developing long-term and sustainable solutions to the power supply woes in off-grid areas like Mindoro.

“As we speak, the Energy Regulatory Commission is already attending to these problems. The president is not after band-aid solutions. Fifteen years ago, we absorbed P18 billion of the debts of electric cooperatives. Now 15 years later, it’s even north of P18 billion. We have to look for the long-term solution,” Lotilla told reporters during a press conference.

Citing a report by the World Bank, Lotilla said the island of Mindoro has an untapped potential of about 26 gigawatts (GW).

“The island of Mindoro has so much potential, you have seen the report of the World Bank — it has a potential of 26 GW so you can see the untapped potential,” he said.

“The town of Sablayan (in Occidental Mindoro) is bigger than the province of Cavite. We need to interconnect the island. And the key is how to transform the National Power Corporation into a dynamo, or missionary electrification,” he added.

Mindoro is an off-grid island, which means that it is not connected to the main Luzon grid controlled and operated by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

Investigation set

During his radio program last 5 August, Tulfo berated officials of the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc., the power distributor in the districts of Oriental Mindoro, for alleged “negligence” amid a looming power crisis.

He vowed to pen a resolution — in aid of legislation — that would investigate the root cause of the decades-long electricity problem in the province.

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