The Big Fat Power Crisis Lie

Let us not mince words and, at the expense of truth, surrender a sliver of doubt enough to allow a big fat brazen lie to slip through. The power crisis that Benigno Aquino III Is seeking emergency powers to address, and to which the House Energy Committee has railroaded discussions on, in order to spread its legs wide open and accommodate, is a lie.


It is not about a massive blackout-creating deficiency in generating capacity as the public has been led to believe. It is not a result of a shortage. It is not due the a number of private generators’ ambivalence in participating in the workable interruptible load program (ILP) that successfully saved Cebu from similar energy challenges.

Unfortunately, worse than being force-fed a lie, we have in this particular instance, a thick and chunky albeit poisonous partisan brew whose primary chicken stock is state-instigated corruption ultimately stirred and stoked for campaign funding in preparation for the 2016 presidential race.

What it is is an aberrant and far more heinous facsimile of the spate of criminality, kidnappings and bank robberies that typically increase on the eve of an election.

It is fund raising. And it is because of this that the proposal passed the House Committee on Energy like a red hot knife over butter.

Think “Kickbacks”. It’s an old, dried-up term. But, apparently, Aquino’s chosen have rehydrated it, electrified it with bolts of rented energy, spruced it up and resurrected the ancient demon, modernizing it well into the twenty-first century.

Consider an imminent one-time, big-time kickback. Consider one that would put gun purchase deals at the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG), lost billion-peso dole-outs and missing relief goods at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), overpriced vaccine purchases at the Department of Health (DOH), “Pantawid-Pasada programs for jeepney drivers at the Department of Energy (DOE), Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Office of the President (OP), and even overpriced provincial convention centers, all look like petty cashbox theft.

emergency powers

Aquino and the Liberal Party are not leaving any stone unturned nor anything to chance on the possibility that an incoming hostile administration might prosecute them for their criminal complicity in the growing number of corruption cases they’ve been racking up or the grand multi-billion theft of public coffers via the various pork barrel mutations that Aquino has personally sponsored.

In order to preempt prosecution and protect their increasingly bellowing and bulging buttocks from criminal indictments certain to flood in once parliamentary and presidential immunities are stripped in 2016, Aquino and the Liberal Party have engaged what opposition they fear in several arenas. As part of the campaign, integral to it in fact, is a fund raising exercise, aimed not simply at filling up campaign coffers, but also to fatten the pig and the rest in the pigsty for a possibly long winter sojourn.

For crooks there is no such thing as being over-prepared. It is a function of their deepest fears and their boundless avarice.

No high ranking government official has yet seen the insides of a real, honest-to-goodness prison save for a slew of custom-built and pre-furnished detention cells, well-appointed private resort houses and, ultimately, exclusive hospital suites for the criminally-ill and hypertensive.

For the current crop of crooks and other cabinet officials bonded within the bureaucracy, given the extent of their fund raising schemes, they certainly intend to maintain the status quo. After all, unless they are suddenly taken ill from a debilitating case of stiff-neck (a pre-existing condition of spinelessness does not count), unlike one former president, they are likely to be sleeping-over indefinitely in real jail cells where they can again bond in altogether novel and acrobatic ways.

One way to prevent such eventuality is to foment falsehoods and the big, fat power crisis lie.

Note the lie’s salient points and the opportunities for a quick buck kickback reminiscent of gun and warship purchase deals and overpriced vaccines.

The DOE raised the apocalyptic specter of five-hour brownouts going on for five consecutive days. That is the big fat power crisis lie.

In hearings conducted from October 19, 2014 through November 18, 2014, DOE officials admitted that what had been reported in media as a “looming energy crisis” for 2015 that could result in “massive systemwide rolling blackouts” reminiscent of the debilitating power crisis inflicted during the Corazon Aquino administration would, in reality, be simply a slight shearing off in grid code mandated reserves during either one of the Luzon grid’s two peak periods in a day.

In other words, should existing generating capacity operate to full capacity during a peak period, the requisite reserves mandated by the Grid Code – a handbook of operations for the optimal management of the energy grid – would fall short of the minimum level. The Grid Code requires a spinning reserve equal to the highest producing unit within a grid and balancing capacity dependent on the actual demand required within certain operating hours. Technically the latter can fit within the former and a spinning reserve can doubly serve as a balancing unit.

Would a reserve shear automatically produce “massive systemwide blackouts”? No.

Would this automatically produce intermittent, rotating outages? No again.

rp_pxopower_zps17490cc2.jpgWill we have a repeat of the debilitating eight to 12-hour brownouts that characterized the Corazon Aquino administration and compelled onerous power agreements? No. Not by a long shot. But the prospect of onerous contracts is suspiciously familiar as we fear an imminent kickback impetus that founds the proposal.

Sworn testimony by industry experts revealed that the outages, should they occur, would only be 31 megawatts (MW). That simply translates to one-hour brownouts from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon once a week during a four week period from March to April in 2015.

Is this what Aquino and the DOE call a crisis enough to re-channel billions from the Malampaya Fund despite statutory restrictions?

The one-hour, once-a-week reserve shortfall between March and April will be due to the scheduled maintenance of the Malampaya offshore gas fields curiously timed when hydroelectric sources are at a seasonal low. Last year, the same facilities were scheduled for maintenance in November when hydroelectric facilities were optimal and that reduced the impact of reserve shearing.

Regulating and managing maintenance schedules and consequently the amount of reserves is within the powers of the DOE. Unless of course they convolute the question with a complex chemistry of politics, electoral fund raiding and the desperation of politicians in protecting their posteriors.

Then, for crooks, as well as the criminally complicit, the big fat power crisis lie, indeed, becomes a political imperative.


Blog Watch stock photos. Some rights reserved.

as originally posted by Dean de la Paz, on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles.