Comelec should bare May 2022 poll contingency plan in case of power outage —Escudero

In the spirit of transparency, Senatorial candidate Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Sunday said the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) should publicly disclose its contingency plan should a power outage occur in the May 9 voting, and during the period of counting and canvassing.

With power supply barely keeping up with demand during the summer months, Escudero, who is seeking a Senate comeback said it imperative for the poll body not to leave anything to chance as it holds one of the most heated national and local elections.

Escudero said the public is now more concerned about the possibility of a “no-electricity” scenario, than a “No-EL” or “no elections” occuring in the May polls.

“Kaya gusto nating malaman ano ba ang plano ng Comelec sakaling mawalan ng kuryente, lalo na sa labas ng Metro Manila. Hindi sapat na sabihin na may plano—ano yung plano? Ano yung protocol (That’s why we want to know Comelec’s plan in case of a brownout, especially outside of Metro Manila. It’s not enough to say they have a plan—what is their plan? What is their protocol)?” Escudero pointed out.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which operates, maintains and develops state-owned power grid, has continuously warned of a “thin power supply” in Luzon in the dry months due to the spike in demand.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has also projected total peak demand of 12,387 MW for Luzon, albeit in the last week of May, which is a 747 MW increase from the actual peak load of 11,640 MW in the same period last year.

Escudero noted electricity demands in the Visayas and Mindanao peak in December and August, respectively.

The former lawmaker stressed electricity and technology are two key factors in the country’s automated elections, particularly during the counting and canvassing.

The country’s automated elections require the use of thousands of vote counting machines (VCM), consolidation or canvassing system machines, VCM external batteries, transmission devices, and generator sets.

“Kaya iyan ang isang bagay na napakahalagang i-secure tuwing eleksyon at bilangan. (That’s why it’s important to secure those two druing the election and counting),” he pointed out.

“Ang DOE na mismo ang nagsabi na ‘di nila masisiguradong hindi magkaka-brownout sa May 9. So kung ganon, ano ang contingency plan ng Comelec (The DOE itself said they cannot ensure there won’t be a brownout during May 9. So if that’s the case, what is the contingency plan of the Comelec)?” Escudero asked.