Senate prioritizes energy panel to address power crisis

Senate prioritizes energy panel to address power crisis
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Last updated 05:04am (Mla time) 07/31/2007

THE SENATE will form its energy committee this week in order to start pubic hearings to address the looming power crisis.


“We have to rush its formation ahead of the other committees because the power crisis needs to be tackled immediately,” said Senate President Manuel Villar in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of this website).


Earlier, Villar said it could take up to three weeks before all the Senate committees are filled.


Villar cited the rising frequency of brownouts in Metro Manila over the past few weeks as an ominous sign of a power crisis brought about by the unusually long dry spell.


In a statement, Sen. Francis Escudero said immediate attention to the problem was needed to avoid falling into the same power predicament that the country faced in the 1990s.


At the time, government was forced to enter into expensive long-term power supply contracts with private suppliers to end eight to 10-hour daily brownouts. This is the reason the country now has one of the highest power rates in the region, it has been often pointed out.


There is an urgent need to determine the causes of this new crisis, whether man-made or natural, so that they can be addressed accordingly, Escudero said.


Escudero blamed the government’s lack of foresight and planning for the looming crisis. There are no contingency plans, he said.


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