More Power CEO dismisses Rep. Castro’s accusations as ‘unfounded’

MORE Power Roel Castro on Act Partylist accusations

Iloilo City electric distribution utility MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) dismissed the allegations made by ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro regarding the need for the company to be held accountable for the widespread blackout in Panay Island.

MORE Power President and CEO Roel Castro said that it’s difficult to respond to Rep. Castro’s accusations, especially when these lack basis.

“It’s difficult to address the statement of Rep. Castro. In fairness and with respect to the Congresswoman, she doesn’t understand the whole system, and it’s difficult to respond if their basis is wrong. It was just an accusation without basis,” explained the MORE Power CEO.

Although the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) previously identified the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) as the entity at fault for the Panaywide blackout, Rep. Castro remains the only one to issue a statement including MORE Power as one of those responsible for the incident.

“The main accountability is with them because it is NGCP that is tasked with maintaining the stability of the grid. The NGCP said it would finish the Panay-Negros-Cebu Interconnection Project in August 2023. And they were not! We are now in January and they promised this in August,” explained Lotilla.

Panay is the sixth largest island in the Philippines, consisting of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo.

MORE POWER’s Castro explained that while it’s unavoidable for there to be some disturbances or problems in the system, the collapse and subsequent total blackout could have been avoided if NGCP had taken immediate action.

He further explained that at afternoon on January 2, 83 megawatts were lost from the grid system due to a Panay coal plant shutdown, which should have been addressed. However, it was followed by six more plant shutdowns.

“After two hours, six more plants sequentially shut down. The question is why there were consecutive shutdowns after two hours? The system operator, NGCP, is supposed to protect the system from collapsing. Seven plants on the island were out, and the fact that a total blackout occurred means that the system was not protected. This is a simplistic understanding of what happened,” MORE’s Castro said.

The MORE Power executive admitted that during the peak of the El Niño Phenomenon, a similar incident could occur if NGCP fails to protect the entire grid system.

“Even if there is enough generating capacity, a similar total blackout could happen again if the system operator will not be active or will not be working,” he added.

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News and Media Blog in Iloilo City, Philippines.

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