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Powerless

Last Holy Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino 3rd said in an interview that, “power rates will go up in Mindanao because the choice is a higher power rate or no power.” He announced this as the country enters the summer season and the whole island already faced with rotating brownouts every day.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla presented a plan to tap diesel-powered generators to augment the supply in the island as the government waits for coal-fired power plants to be operational around 2015. The diesel-powered plants were seen to be the fastest way to plug the energy gap but at the cost of a higher price for consumers. The president added that around 300 megawatts of power will come on-line in around two years from coal power plants.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Fast facts: Who owns Semirara?

Cai Ordinario
02/17/2013
Rappler

Semirara is owned by the 5th richest man in the Philippines, David Consunji. Based on the Forbes list of the 40 Richest Filipinos, Consunji's net worth reached $2.7 billion in 2012. Forbes said Consunji's net worth was borne from construction-related pursuits. Consunji and his 8 children operate DMCI Holdings Inc., the holding firm for all the business interests of the family.

DMCI Holdings was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange on December 18, 1995 as a holding firm. David Consunji remains chairman of the board of the company, while his son, Isidro, is President.

Electricity rates to rise starting March – ERC

Amy R. Remo
February 19, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Power consumers should brace for higher electricity rates, starting March as the Energy Regulatory Commission allowed the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. to collect over P53 billion worth of stranded contract costs.

This is equivalent to an increase of 19.38 centavos per kilowatt-hour, which will be collected under the universal charge for stranded contract costs (UC-SCC) component of one’s power bill.

Stranded contract costs are calculated every year as the difference between the contractual payment obligations and the revenue earned from the sale of the contracted energy for eligible, government-managed independent power producers (IPPs).

Science in 2011

The leading scientific journals usually have a yearend issue that summarizes the year that was in science.
ITALSScienceEND ITALS magazine has hailed the AIDS treatment therapy study HPTN 052 of Myron Cohen and collaborators as its “Breakthrough of the Year.” This clinical study showed lowered infection rates of HIV-1 (by a factor of 20) between partners using a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs. This treatment, described in a paper in the ITALSNew England Journal of MedicineEND ITALS, combined with other promising clinical trials, may be “The Beginning of the End of AIDS,” as the World AIDS Day (December 1) event last year in George Washington University heralded.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Putting the brakes on oil prices

I HAD hoped that a previous column on oil prices would have been the last but with local gasoline prices increasing upwards 15 times already this year alone (2011), answering the question of how to put the brakes on skyrocketing oil prices becomes imperative. Oil firms and government are singing the same tune as to the supposed reason for the increases: that it is the world market that dictates oil prices and that we are essentially helpless in this regard.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Power Failure: Ten Years of EPIRA (2)

(Second of two parts. Part 1 appeared last Thursday.)

WHAT does the government have to show us after a decade of power industry privatization under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA? Power rates have increased all over the country. More rate hikes loom for consumers from various recovery schemes legitimized under the law. The debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC) have not been substantially reduced from its US$16.4 billion level in 2001 and there is the recurring threat of brownouts in Visayas and Mindanao due to lack of supply

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Phd

Power Failure: Ten Years of EPIRA (1)

IT will be ten years to the day by next week when Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 was enacted into law. Its passage was railroaded through Congress amidst a very strong lobby from the creditors of the National Power Corporation (NPC) led by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These power sector reforms and the sale of state-owned power assets to private business were part of the pre-conditions of the IMF for the country to obtain more loans and funds from its creditors.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Controlling oil prices

IF it still has escaped your attention, the prices of oil products have already risen 10 times this year. Diesel prices have increased by P7.95 per liter in less than only three months. Kerosene and gasoline rose by an average of P7.30 and P5.30 per liter respectively within the same time period. The recent price increases would seem to surpass the rapid rise in oil prices in 2008 when diesel reached P56 and gasoline topped at around P60.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Filipinos concerned about nuclear emergency in Japan: Revival of Bataan nuke plant should be junked

March 12, 2011

Following reports that the nuclear plant in Japan around 250 kilometers northeast of Tokyo had explosions and vented smoke to the environment, Philippine activist groups under the No to BNPP Revival! network reminded the Aquino administration of the dangers of reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) here in the Philippines.

LRT/MRT fare hikes: PPA all over again

LAST February 4 and 5, commuters, student and people’s organizations participated in a public consultation with the Light Rail Transit Administration (LRTA) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). The public consultation was held by the LRTA with regard to the fare hike that it approved for the light rail transit (LRT) and the metro rail transit (MRT) systems.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang
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