By Ellson Quismorio
Siquijor lone district Rep. Jake Villa took matters into his own hands by convening the first inter-agency dialogue on the longstanding power shortage problem in his province.
Villa led representatives from various stakeholders in the local energy sector in attending the dialogue, which aims to promptly address the power supply woes.
Held at the Provincial Capitol, representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE) Visayas Field Office, Province of Siquijor Electric Cooperative (PROSIELCO), and the Siquijor Provincial Government discussed the current situation of power supply in the province and the necessary steps to solve it.
The island province has been beset with rotational brownouts caused by the shortage in power supply and the outdated assessment of the electricity requirements of the province, among others.
“The power shortage problem in the province requires a multi-stakeholder strategy from both national and local institutions. This is why I have requested for a dialogue among different agencies so that we can sit down and discuss immediate and long-term solutions,” Villa said in justifying the event.
“Our constituents in the province have been affected by this issue for a long time and it will take a consolidated effort of all parties to ensure our residents have access to a reliable supply of electricity,” he noted.
Part of the dialogue was a discussion of possible steps to be undertaken by all energy stakeholders, including PROSIELCO’s pending application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for additional megawatts for Siquijor, alternative and renewable sources of energy,
Also tackled was the possible creation of an Energy Advisory Group which will hold quarterly meetings for timely assessment on the power situation in the province, as well as policy measures on certification by local government units for investors in the province before they can be endorsed to PROSIELCO.
Villa said this measure will require investors of the province to submit to the provincial government their projected power consumption.
The solon also discussed with representatives of PROSIELCO how billing statements received by consumers can be simplified. He said electric bills must be understandable as additional protection for rights of consumers.
“I am grateful that all parties present in the dialogue have expressed their commitment to work together to resolve the power shortage problem in the province. The people of Siquijor can be assured that concrete steps will be undertaken in the coming months to mitigate the effects of this shortage, and in the long-term, ensure that power supply in the province will be at its full capacity,” Villa added.