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Philippines luring Chinese investors to put up ‘merchant power plants’ to boost reserves —Cusi

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Philippine government has been pushing for the establishment of “merchant power plants” specifically aimed at augmenting power reserves should the need arise.

During the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday, Cusi said that the government is convincing Chinese investors to put merchant power plants in the country.

“It will serve as a reserve. ‘Pagka may nawawala papasok siya (If supply is thin then it can come in),” he said.

For two straight days the Luzon Grid has been placed under Red Alert and Yellow Alert status due to thin reserves resulting from planned and unplanned outages of several power plants.

The power situation raises the need for the establishment of merchant plants, as Cusi said that a power grid should have at least 20% of reserves relative to the peak demand.

“‘Yun ang hinahabol natin (That is what we are trying to achieve),” he said.

“From the very beginning of this administration, we have been pushing for the establishment of a merchant plant,” he noted.

The Energy chief also floated the possibility of conducting a policy debate or a study on how the government can participate in the power sector.

“From distribution, transmission, to generation all those are in the hands of the private sector… Dapat ba lahat (Should it be like this), in a developing country, na ganito eh lahat po ba 'yan nasa pribado (that everything is in the hands of the private sector)?” Cusi noted.

“I’d like to have a policy debate or  study… that in a developing country certain basic services should not be privatized. I want to have that policy debate, a study on that,” he said.—AOL, GMA News