Gatchalian wants Senate probe on Occidental Mindoro’s power supply troubles

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday, July 5 said he will seek a Senate inquiry into the power supply problems in Occidental Mindoro plaguing the province for several years now.

Gatchalian made the promise even as he noted that the province’s power supply has been restored after it was hit by a three-day blackout that started last June 25.

“Kung walang kuryente, walang negosyo, walang kita ang mga tao. At kung magpapatuloy pa ito sa mga susunod na buwan, maaaring maapektuhan pati ang pagpasok sa paaralan ng mga mag-aaral (If there is no electricity, there would be no businesses, the people can’t earn money. And if this continues in the next few months, it would affect even the students who will go to school),” Gatchalian said.

“Hahayaan na lang ba natin na ganito na lang palagi ang sitwasyon sa Occidental Mindoro (Are we going to just let Occidental Mindoro’s situation remain this way)?” the senator asked.

“The locals are complaining to me. It’s time we get to the bottom of the recurring power problem in the province,” he stressed.

Gatchalian said he will file a resolution to have the Senate direct the appropriate committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the matter, stressing the need for a supply reliability and power quality and to protect the province’s consumers from losses attributed to power outages.

He noted that he even had his personal experience of power interruption when he visited the province during the last campaign period.

Reports said that the Occidental Mindoro Consolidated Power Corp. (OMCPC) stopped supplying electricity to Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. (OMECO) last June 25 after its power supply agreement to the electric cooperative expired.

OMECO, the electric cooperative servicing the franchise area of Occidental Mindoro, has a total of 240,887 household connections.

Power supply resumed last Monday after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) provisionally approved a power supply agreement (PSA) between OMECO and OMCPC to augment the power supply issue and end the lingering rotational outages.

Gatchalian expressed concern that the province of Occidental Mindoro could be left behind in terms of economic development if its power supply problems remain unaddressed.

“Malaking bagay ang pagkakaroon ng tuloy-tuloy na suplay ng kuryente, may pandemya man o wala. Isa itong dahilan sa mabilis na pag-unlad ng isang lugar o ng buong bansa (a continuous supply of electricity is a huge deal, whether there is a pandemic or none. It is one of the main reasons why a certain place, or the whole nation, develops),” the senator explained.

“Kung hindi sapat ang mga umiiral na batas para tugunan ang problema sa suplay at kalidad ng kuryente sa Occidental Mindoro o kahit saan pa mang lugar o probinsiya, maaari tayong magbalangkas ng mga bagong batas o reporma sa mga kasalukuyang batas (If the current laws are not sufficient to resolve the problem on electricity supply and quality in Occidental Mindoro or any other place or province, we can craft new laws or introduce reforms in the current laws),” he said.