MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has formally asked Congress for authority to contract additional power capacity to counter a looming power crisis in the summer of 2015.
In a letter dated September 12, 2014 addressed to House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Aquino invoked Section 71 of Republic Act 9136, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.
The letter was also furnished to Senate President Franklin Drilon and Presidential Legislative Liason Office Secretary Manuel Mamba
"I hereby seek the immediate enactment of a joint resolution authorizing the President to establish additional generating capacity," Aquino said.
The same letter cited the Department of Energy's reasons for recommending the enactment of such an authority: "the expected effects of the El Nino Phenomenon, the 2015 Malampaya turnaround, increased and continuing outages of power plants, and anticipated delays in the commissioning of committed power projects."
Underscoring the urgency of the authority, Aquino further said, "There is no gain saying that the imminent electric power shortage during these months is a real threat to the country's growing economy and the general welfare of the people."
In the authority, Aquino seeks "a specific, focused and targeted acquisition of additional power generating capacities for use during the limited periods of time of very tight energy supply... This authority is needed in order to address the imminent shortage of electric power for the summer of 2015 in Luzon."
In a hearing of the Joint Congressional Power Commission House panel last week, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the government needs at least 6 months to prepare for the power shortage.
Petilla also gave assurances that these additional powers won't be similar to the emergency powers that Congress granted then-President Fidel V. Ramos to secure additional power supply to fix the power shortage that began with the Cory Aquino administration.
The Ramos emergency powers has been blamed for the high cost of power in the country.
The letter has been referred to the House committee on rules for appropriate action.