Power crisis looming in Palawan

September 14, 2022

The off-grid island of Palawan has been plagued by persistent power interruptions due to unstable power supply, but the situation may worsen once Delta Power, Inc., the first private power provider in Puerto Princesa City, suspends its services due to unsettled payments.

During a public hearing on Wednesday, Senate Committee on Energy chairman Raffy Tulfo said Palawan might have to raise an emergency power alert due to Delta Power’s potential exit from the province.

Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron said Delta Power informed his office last 12 September that it will only provide power to the province until the end of the month following the pending payment of a P500 million subsidy for a universal charge for missionary electrification.

“Now, they cannot even buy bunker oil… This only shows that the problem with our power supply is serious,” the mayor said.

However, National Power Corporation OIC Melchor Ridulme argued that he only sees less than P100 million billing from Delta Power. He said he has to check for other billings to make up for the assumed pending payment.

Ridulme said the NPC will ask the Energy Regulatory Commission to look into what is missing in the billing, adding that the agency only pays for what was billed first. If Delta Power’s P500 million bill is really with the ERC, the agency will plead for staggered payment because they cannot pay it in one go, he said.

Under Republic Act 9136, the NPC is mandated to perform the missionary electrification function through the Small Power Utilities Group, which is responsible for providing power generation and its associated power delivery systems in areas that are not connected to the transmission system.

Missionary electrification should be funded from the revenues from sales in the missionary areas and from the Universal Charge to be collected from all electricity end-users as determined by the ERC.

In response, Delta Power Regulatory and Industry Affairs Senior AVP Joseph Lua argued that the company’s NPC billing has been pending since March 2022.

Lua, however, assured that Delta Power will “find a way” to stretch their money and take loans because the company does not want to leave the people of Puerto Princesa without electricity.

Delta Power, established in 2002, is jointly owned by Gigawatt Power, Inc. and Vivant Energy Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vivant Corporation.

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