Solon blames bad management, politicking for recurring brownouts

The country’s erratic and unreliable power supply is caused by bad management and too much political bickering in the power sector and the lack of focus by the Department of Energy (DoE) in addressing the country’s power woes, according to  Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles.


Nograles said he had to switch to using his phone from his laptop while he was on a Zoom during Thursday’s House Committee on Energy hearing on the country’s energy situation because of two successive power interruptions in his location in General Santos City. 


Nograles said that his experience is incontrovertible proof that the various government agencies that are responsible for ensuring a cheap and reliable power supply in the country have failed miserably in addressing the country’s serious energy problem.


“It’s been six-and-a-half hours into this hearing and I have experienced two brownouts here in General Santos City. I  did not hear a single person bring up the brownouts and all I hear are people pointing fingers. This is a miserable failure for everyone. I’m sorry it’s a miserable failure,” Nograles said. 


Flatly rejecting claims by officials of the DoE that the only way to solve the country’s energy problem is to amend Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), Nograles stressed that the primary issue is not the law but it is “bad management” and “too much politicking.”


He also dismissed claims that the generation companies and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) are responsible for the outages because they too are victims of these power interruptions. 


“I hear people here wanting to change the EPIRA (Law) but maybe it’s bad management. You see, on the part of the Gencos (generating companies), they want to make money because they don’t wanna shut down. Likewise, transmission, of course, they want to make money, they want to serve everybody,” Nograles said. 


“Ang nangyayari dito, due to lack of coordination, lack of cooperation, and mostly finger-pointing and politicking, ang kawawa ang taumbayan kasi nagba-brownout ang ating bansa. I see here a problem that is political and due to bad management,” he added.


Without naming names, Nograles said that energy officials should focus on their job to stop the recurring brownouts which is slowing down the country’s economic recovery. 


 “The problem here is really political, ang  masasabi ko lang dito ay simple lang..tama na ang politika diyan. Let’s all work together. It’s that simple. Parang awa niyo na energy family..please get your act together. Nakakahiya na tayo sa mundo,” Nograles said.


Nograles added that it is also quite ironic that load droppings on power supply have occurred more frequently during the pandemic when demand is lower especially from industrial consumers.


“ Demand has gone lower because economic activities have slowed down. There is a slowdown in manufacturing, a slowdown in commercial activities like the malls.. the point is all these things are happening for a reason and nobody is owning up to the reason,” Nograles observed.


“That is a very, very sad reality that we are facing right now. There is ineptitude, there is inefficiency, there is lack of transparency and that has been going on in this six hours and 30 minutes of finger-pointing in the energy family,” he added. ###