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Energy chief flags delays in power investments due to Luzon lockdown

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has flagged that the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine might be a downside to energy-related investments and a risk to the country’s power capacity in the long-term.

The entire Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine at 12 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night, to stop the further transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Under this condition, strict home quarantine will be implemented in all households, transportation will be suspended, provision for food and essential health services will be regulated and the presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be heightened.

“We received reports that some of the foreign contractors and workers are not able to travel,” Cusi said in a statement Thursday. “There are also delays in on-going construction and other activities in the energy sector.”

The Energy chief also noted that issues on the late delivery of imported equipment and parts needed for energy facilities — generation, distribution projects — because of the slowdown in global production.

“Hence, these may result in delays in the completion of on-going projects and repairs and further hinder energy-related investments,” Cusi said.

While these may cause more problems in our energy reliability and capacity in the long run, the Energy chief said the Department of Energy (DOE) will continue to advise the public on effective ways that provide the necessary energy solutions for the benefit of all consumers and stakeholders.

“The primordial concern right now is to defeat the novel coronavirus disease-2019 crisis,” Cusi said.

“The DOE and the entire energy family is one in cooperating with the whole government,” he said.

The Cabinet official said the DOE Is committed to fully coordinate and provide 24/7 energy services that bring comfort to every home and all the institutions are working.

Meanwhile, the Energy chief said electricity demand in Luzon has dropped on the back of slowdown in business activities in light of the enhanced community quarantine in the entire mainland region.

Citing the DOE’s monitoring, Cusi said, “The enhanced community quarantine resulted in a reduction in electricity demand by around 30%, as compared with the same period last year.”

“This means that most of the economic activities have slowed down,” he said. --KBK, GMA News