National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Anthony Almeda said Occidental Mindoro, which had been suffering daily power outages lasting up to 20 hours, is no longer experiencing brownouts.
Almeda, during a Senate hearing, said that since April 28, the province has been “a hundred percent energized.”
Almeda said he asked the Occidental Mindoro Power Corporation (OMPC), the lone power supplier of the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, to run its 20-megawatt Samarica power plant sans a provisional authority.
“I saw that the plant is there, but it’s not being fired up because of an absence of a provisional authority from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC),” he noted.
While OMPC owner Luis Manuel Banzon was initially “hesitant,” Almeda said Banzon later agreed after receiving the go-ahead from Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla.
The NEA official said only two power plants in the OMPC have provisional authority from the ERC, and both only supply a total of 12 megawatts.
Senator Raffy Tulfo, who heads the Senate Energy Committee, during the hearing asked if this is a mere band-aid solution to the power crisis in Occidental Mindoro.
Almeda said the assurance the NEA can only give the public is in assisting the OMPC in its bid to secure a provisional authority from the ERC for the Samarica power plant.
ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta said the years-long delay in filing the provisional authority application for the Samarica power plant was due to the OMPC’s seeking environmental and land conversion permits.
After the OMPC applies for provisional authority, Dimalanta said the ERC has 75 days to give them provisional authority,
But, she said, they hope to issue the provisional authority for the Samarica power plant within a month after the OMPC files an application.