[Statement] Secretary Petilla, Do your homework first, otherwise resign!!! -Power to the People Coalition

POWER TO THE PEOPLE COALITION

Secretary Petilla, Do your homework first, otherwise resign!!!

The recent statement of Secretary Jericho Petilla asking the President to exercise emergency powers to solve the current energy crisis is a dire attempt to excuse his inability and ineffectiveness in solving the problems in the power industry.

power to the people coalition

We would like to remind Sec Petilla that before he use section 71 of the EPIRA law ,he should have gone first to section 37, powers and functions of DOE, which requires him to submit to Congress not later than the 15th day of September of every year the Philippine Energy Plan which (b) “shall provide for integrated and comprehensive exploration, development, utilization, distribution and conservation of energy resources, with preferential bias for environment-friendly, indigenous and low-cost sources of energy.” Section 37 (i) specifically mandates DOE to: “Develop policies and procedures and, as appropriate, promote a system of energy development incentives to enable and encourage electric power industry participants to provide adequate capacity to meet demand including, among others, reserve requirements.”

We shudder at the thought that he has been writing and making our policies to promote a system of energy development incentives to encourage participants to provide adequate supply of power. What exactly are those policies and incentives?

For one, has he looked into the asymmetry in the industry with Meralco being the biggest buyer and a monopsony, especially one that has interests, even if supposedly capped, in the generation and supply sector.With the highest electricity rates, why are we not drawing outside interest and new investments in the power generation.Quite the contrary, Meralco just invested millions of dollars in Singapore. Should this not be a matter of interest to the DOE Secretary?

Given this clear mandate and the emergency we are now in as very publicly declared by Petilla, his failure to fulfill his mandate must be the biggest crisis of the energy sector and the power industry. Petilla like EPIRA is a failure! His inability to submit the required plan is just one of the indicators of his ineptitude.

In other words, before Petilla goes to the president to spin tales of a crisis and make the beleaguered President into a white knight, he should face the public and explain why his Philippine energy plan failed to anticipate and plan for the generation/supply shortfalls and why his power development plan did not have the programs and policies to lure investors into generation. He should do his homework first! Otherwise he should resign from DOE.

After showing that the imminent crisis is beyond control and influence of prudent planning and responsive policies, only then can he bring up section 71 with the president. Otherwise, Petilla will be no different from Abad, who has apparently painted the president into the DAP corner. Petilla will be no different from Abad, who has implemented the DAP. We will not be surprised too, if Pnoy, just like what he did to Abad, will defend Petilla to high heavens and assert that his recommendations for emergency powers for the President will be an “act of good faith” and for the good of the people.

The rising prices of electricity including the crisis was brought about by corporate greed and privatization of the power industry though the passage of EPRA law. The failure of EPIRA to solve the power crisis only strengthens the call to repeal it and push for alternative sources of energy.

We should dismantle EPIRA and pave the way for the rapid development and shift to sustainable, accessible, safe and renewable energy systems that the people-especially the poor and the communities in the off-grid areas can truly enjoy and benefit from. The government should undertake immediate and massive public investments in the immediate and rapid shift and transformation of our energy systems.

PRESS STATEMENT
25 July 2014
Contact Person: Erwin Puhawan
Mobile No. 0932-872-6174

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