Aleco lawyer welcomes Petilla’s call for regional energy plan

LEGAZPI CITY -– Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) lawyer Oliver Olaybal said on Wednesday that the call for the formulation of regional energy plan recently aired by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jericho Petilla is a welcome development that could make power in Bicol the cheapest in the country.

“Petilla’s idea should serve as a clarion call for the congressmen representing the 16 congressional districts of Bicol -- particularly the three from Albay—to seize the moment by immediately filing a bill defining and formulating a regional energy plan that is tailor-fit for the province’s geothermal energy resource,” Aleco legal counsel Oliver Olaybal said.

Albay has two giant geothermal energy fields—one in Tiwi town that produces as much as 350 megawatts of electricity and the other one along the boundaries of the municipality of Manito and Sorsogon City that presently has a capacity of 110 megawatts.

The Tiwi geothermal power field is run by Chevron Philippines while the Lopez-owned Energy Development Corp. (EDC) operates the Manito resources located within the 250,000-hectare Bacon-Manito (BacMan) geothermal energy reservation.

These renewable energy resources of Albay should become the template for regional energy planning so that it becomes the true infrastructure for the economic development of Bicol, with the cheapest power cost in the country, Olaybal, who was once president of the Aleco board of directors, said.

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Today, power rates in Albay and the other six provinces of the region reach an average of around Php 15 per kilowatt-hour, and are among the highest in the country, despite Bicol’s being among the major producers of electricity for the Luzon Grid.

Petilla’s call for regional energy plans, according to Olaybal, will finally reverse the doctrine affecting energy resources in the country introduced under the term of President Ferdinand Marcos.

In announcing the plan, Petilla said the need for regional energy planning is essential to explore potential energy sources and promote regional energy security across the nation.--By Danny O. Calleja (PNA)

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