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Press Release - Gatchalian calls out DOE for forced power outages due to feedstock constraints

Senator Win Gatchalian called out the Department of Energy (DOE) for forced power outages attributed to lack of sufficient feedstock or raw materials needed by generation companies to operate at full capacity.

In the case of the Ilijan natural gas plant in Batangas, for instance, the DOE was aware that its supply agreement involving the Malampaya oil gas field already expired in June last year which in turn led Ilijan to operate at a reduced capacity.

The vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Energy, Gatchalian said the DOE should have taken the necessary proactive steps that would have ensured Ilijan, with a capacity of 1200 megawatts, to operate at full capacity, particularly when electricity demand surged in previous months due to hot weather conditions brought by the El Niño phenomenon. This would have prevented a series of red and yellow alerts in the country's main transmission grid experienced by the country beginning last month. Red and yellow alerts indicate insufficiency of electricity supply and reserve.

"Paano tayo nagkaroon ng loss of gas supply? We know that during summer, demand increases and we need all the supply we can get," he said at a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Energy on the recent spate of red and yellow alerts.

The senator emphasized that the DOE should have intervened in resolving concerns hounding generation companies, such as the feedstock concern of Ilijan. According to him, the DOE even issued a department circular requiring an inventory of feedstock for generating companies and yet failed to implement the same.

"DOE should monitor the supply of feedstock and not just the output of electricity or else there would be no electricity," Gatchalian said, emphasizing that DOE should undertake the necessary interventions to help resolve concerns hounding generation companies and to help ensure sufficiency of electricity supply.

"It's in the best interest of the government to see it up and running," said Gatchalian, referring to Ilijan, noting that the red and yellow alerts that the country experienced recently would not have happened only if power generating facilities were operating at full capacity. The DOE should have