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Luzon faces power shortages in 2015

Luzon will suffer power outages by 2015, unless new power plants are built and the government finds solutions to address the region’s growing electricity demand, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla warned over the weekend. Petilla told reporters while Mindanao’s power woes were being addressed, Luzon was also facing the challenge of a rapidly growing economy dependent on electricity. “We can solve [power shortages in] Mindanao. But in Luzon, it’s not that we don’t have new capacities, but rather because of the high growth rate,” Petilla said. He said Luzon might face two-hour power outages during peak hours by 2015, if the gross domestic product expansion of over 7 percent was sustained over the next two years.  “An hour to two hours on the peaking hours. And the peaking hours are 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.,” he said. Petilla, however, assured the government had a long-term plan to avert the power brownouts. “The good thing about long- term planning is if you already know the problem, you actually scavenge for every possible resource that you can have and that’s what we’re doing right now,” he said. He said while the economy grew 7.7 percent in the first quarter and 7.5 percent in the second quarter, power projects were being built at a growth rate of just 6 percent. “While we all pray that the growth rate will be sustained, we [Energy Department] are worried. What I’m running after is two years from now or 2015.  Whatever we do, some of these power projects will not be completed on time. However, there are other solutions,” he said. Petilla said the implementation of the reserves market could be one solution to the impending power shortage during peak hours.  “That’s why we’re pushing for the reserve market,” he said.  
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