>By Pet Melliza,The Beekeeper
There is no end to power outages in this never, never land of Irong-Irong, a Central Philippine City.
Blackouts hit it daily or nightly catching people by surprise and jacking up their blood pressure when they disrupt events or activities like live sports telecasts or hot-breaking news.
In that case, you just feel helpless you can do nothing other than curse the Patay Electric Company and its sweetheart Patay Power – Patay Electric Development Corporation combine. You can’t even contact them on phone to complain because Patay Electric has that nice habit of hanging up its phones in situations like that.
We had been tricked into believing that with the coal-fired power plant in place, power outages would be a thing of the past. Power outages still do happen today, daily or nightly even, and for long durations, even multiple times in a single day.
Patay Electric proffers inexhaustible excuses for the inconvenience. So does Patay Power whose coal-fired plant conks out because it has been built on second hand machineries and it can’t stand to the demand of producing even half its capacity of 160 megawatts.
Patay Power – Patay Energy and Patay Elecric swap blames for the recurring outages. The former says it has been supplying enough energy only that the latter’s distribution network is antiqueated. On the other hand, the latter tosses the fault to its sweetheart, saying that its coal-fired plant has been teetering.
Patay Power – Patay Energy has been deceiving consumers all throughout. While it was still in the drawing board and in the midst of popular opposition, PP – PE dangled the carrot of employment and cheaper electricity that never came.
It vowed to fill the environs with trees to counter carbon emission and the thermal pollution which today still remains a promise. Patay Power – Patay Energy shows no sign of contrition for its false promise much less, a change of heart by launching a spirited regreening in La Paz.
Now, residents of Ingore, La Paz, Irong-Irong must be biting their elbows for backing up a highly toxic technology all because they were tricked into believing that they would be the first priority in the hiring of labourers. Patay Power’s coal fired power plant employs less than 50 persons and it is even streamlining its personnel.
Before the operations of Patay Power’s coal-fired power plant, consumers pay the average P14 per kilowatt-hour, the costliest not only in the Philippines, not only in Asia but the whole world, in fact.
No reduction in the price of electricity in Irong-Irong occured since Patay Power – Panay Energy Development Corporation began operating its coal-fired plant in December. It ratiocinates that it could not do so because coal prices have gone up in the world market.
I could still remember its paid hacks including a retired PNOC engineer masquerading as scientist (to the contrary, he has proven himself only as a quack scientist pontificating that coal is clean and has no lead content) – I could still remember its paid hacks including the quack scientist during the preparatory stages of the construction that coal is cheap and with that, electricity will become cheaper in this blighted land once it is in place.
Power prices in Irong-Irong, already the highest in Asia, continue to rise despite the promises of coal advocates including Fray Butod who pontificates on the pulpit that the coal-fired power plant is God’s blessing to humanity in this part of the world.
Ted Alvin Ong, a media colleague and member of the local of the Freedom from Debt Coalition was caught on TV afternoon news yesterday (January 13) among the crowd of protesters in a picket to denounce Patay Electric’s petition to the Energy Regulatory Board for an P0.50 increase in distribution charge.
Instead of lowering prices, the deadly Patay Electric – Patay Power/Patay Energy combine is even scheming to jack up prices in brazen violation of its promise to do the contrary.
Patay Power never remonstrates on the cavalier attitude of Patay Power/Patay Energy in no reducing its rates because afteall, Patay Power and Patay Electric are real sweethearts with mutual cross interest of 30 percent. In other words, Patay Power owns 30 percent of Patay Electric and vice versa. The thievery of one benefits the other.
Patay Electric refuses to give protesters documents to prove its basis for the petition. It turns out, to their dismay, that there is no basis at all.
Patay Electric is just stretching its luck of jacking up the distribution charge as an advance payment of sort for its plan to erect a building. As of now, Patay Electric, has no building of its own despite the billions it raked in bloated billings over the decades though its owners had already erected rows of mansions in different parts of the Philippines .Patay Power still rents an abandoned hostel.