Philippines facing severe power shortage

Philippines facing severe power shortage
San Miguel supplies nearly a fifth of the nation's power

MANILA - An electricity shortfall looms as a serious problem for the Philippines, where growth in generating capacity is not keeping pace with demand. Rolling blackouts may be implemented on the largest island of Luzon this year.

The Philippine economy has been expanding at a more than 5 per cent annual clip. Demand for power is expected to reach 30 million kilowatts in 2030, but current capacity is just 17 million kilowatts.

Conglomerate San Miguel, which accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the country's power output, is building plants with a total capacity of 900,000kW. Aboitiz Power is also building new facilities. But construction of these sites will not be completed before 2016.

In the first half of this year, planned maintenance at major power plants will narrow supply further. On the island of Luzon, which includes the Manila metropolitan area, a natural-gas-fired plant that provides about 40 per cent of the supply on the island will go offline for maintenance. And other key plants will also have to undergo routine checkups.

Between March and May of this year, demand may outstrip supply by as much as 1 million kilowatts on the island, the country's energy department projects. Rolling blackouts of two to three hours a day may be implemented.

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