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Marinduque Rep. Velasco pushes to improve power sector beyond COVID-19 lockdown

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Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco held a high level policy meeting with the energy officials to improve the power industry beyond the enhanced community quarantine.

Velasco, vhairperson of the House Committee on Energy, along with Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, headed a policy meeting with Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Agnes Devanadera last Friday.

The meeting tackled government’s response to several energy issues during and beyond the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte aimed in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a result of the ECQ, there is a dramatic drop in power system requirements in the country, and Rep. Velasco inquired on how the government could ensure a more efficient power situation, including the possibility of conducting planned maintenance works on power plants during the lockdown,” the solon’s office said.

“He also inquired on post-lockdown scenarios because it may take some time before demand for power reaches pre-ECQ levels, even after the ECQ is lifted. Sec. Cusi said that the difficulty in implementing maintenance works lies in securing necessary supplies and needed spare parts during the lockdown, and at the same time, ensuring that the system could withstand any unforced outages,” it added.

Velasco said that the government expects some difficulties after the lockdown, thus there is a need to give assistance to the energy stakeholders now to prepare for post-lockdown scenarios.

Rep. Velasco also underscored the need to give assistance to ‘lifeline consumers,’ who usually belongs to the poorest of the poor, further observing that the lockdown may have skewed the definition of ‘lifeline consumers’ since most people are staying at home and consuming electricity in the households.

Velasco also pointed out that it is equally important to recognize and thank the energy players particularly the ECs and Distribution Utilities who have supported local government units since day one of the lockdown and provided critical support by ensuring uninterrupted power for hospitals and medical facilities primarily engaged in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.