By Ben Rosario
The chairman of the House Committee on Energy called on mall owners to use generator sets to cut on electricity load and help avert possible election-day brownouts that may compromise the integrity of the ballot.
Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco issued the call in the wake of threats of power outages during the May 13 midterm elections and even during the canvassing of votes.
He also asked the Department of Energy (DOE) and other industry players to disseminate information on how citizens may reduce electricity use during election day and ballot transmission hours.
“Other than building capacity, energy conservation is the key in guaranteeing a credible and fair elections,” the senior administration congressman said.
Last week, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) placed the Luzon grid on red alert due to severe power supply deficiency. The NGCP warned that the situation that has triggered rotational blackouts may extend on election day and even up to June.
Velasco noted that power outages have also been experienced by candidates as they staged political rallies in various parts of the country.
The Marinduque lawmaker has been joining Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in barnstorming the country to campaign for 13 senatorial candidates backed by the Duterte administration.
Velasco said the DOE and industry players must ensure that there will be sufficient power supply not only during election day, but all throughout the counting and transmission of votes so as not to cast doubts on the credibility of the poll results.
“What the public wants is a fair, clean, and honest election. If there will be power interruptions, I worry that it would compromise the results and credibility of the election,” said the lawmaker from the lone district of Marinduque.
“Our energy officials and industry players must pull all strings to allay fears and meet the public’s expectations,” he stressed.
Energy officials have claimed that power supply will be sufficient come May 13 because it is a holiday.
But Velasco said this early contingency plans must be put in place to deal with power outages, especially during the canvassing and transmission of votes.
“They better be ready. We cannot afford to endanger the election processes and the results,” the chairman of the House Committee on Energy said.
Velasco is also pushing the DOE to fast-track the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop or EVOSS, a new law recently signed by President Duterte aimed at streamlining the permitting process of power generation, transmission and distribution projects to bring down the cost of doing business in the country of potential inventors.
“Without the IRR, it would be difficult to attract more power generation companies to put up plants to meet the increasing demand for energy in the country,” said Velasco, one of the authors of the EVOSS and spearheaded its approval in Congress. Velasco is of the opinion that the solution to thin power reserves is having more power plants distributed across the country.
Further, Velasco is hoping for the signing into law of the energy efficiency and conservation bill which he championed in Congress, as this will also contribute to efforts for sufficient power supply in the country.