DOE reassures public of ‘brownout-free’ elections

The outgoing officials of the Department of Energy (DOE) are reassuring the public of brownout-free elections on Monday, May 9, so the integrity of the ballots that will decide on the country’s next leaders will be duly protected.

“Contrary to recent alarmist news reports, the ETFE (Energy Task Force Election) assures the public that there is sufficient energy supply for this crucial period,” the energy department stressed.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi noted “the entire energy family has been continuously working to ensure uninterrupted energy supply before, during, and after the elections. We will protect the votes of the Filipino people.”

The ETFE, in particular, is a body created via a DOE Circular “to support the conduct of free, honest, and fair elections by ensuring the 24/7 availability of adequate and reliable energy supply.” This year’s synchronized national and local elections will already be the third to be manned by this task force.

To ensure that power interruptions will not taint the outcome of the polls, relevant players through the supply chain of the energy sector have been collaborating with the DOE as well as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) so any glitches in the power system can be immediately addressed.

The Philippine elections would be undertaken anew on an automated system, hence, reliable electricity supply will be among the critical factors to be given utmost attention because this is a commodity needed from the preparations of the precincts, to the actual voting and on the final canvassing of votes.

According to the DOE, the Comelec already furnished the energy task force with lists of unenergized voting and polling centers – and these have been validated by the concerned distribution utilities.

“These centers would be provided with generator sets and solar lamps on loan from the DOE,” the energy department said.

The DOE further indicated that personnel from the central office as well as its field offices had done physical inspections of Comelec facilities in Luzon, Visayas as well as Mindanao – and the intent of that activity has been to ensure that there are "no faulty connections" in precincts or centers where the elections will be held on Monday.

As early as May 2, several command centers were already activated to monitor power supply situation all over the country – including those of ETFE, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and that of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) which will be overseeing the electricity services in the network of electric cooperatives nationwide.