The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has urged the Department of Energy and the National Electrification Administration to fast-track the efforts to reinstate the subsidy on Palawan’s power rates to reduce the existing exorbitant rates within the island power grid.

Board Member Ryan Maminta said during Tuesday’s regular board session that House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the acting caretaker for the 3rd district, and Palawan 2nd District Rep. Jose Alvarez are coordinating with the energy department and the electrification administration to return the subsidy through a “transitional power supply” scheme for the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO), where the subsidy will apply.

PALECO’s need for additional power supply led to an increase in power rates in Palawan when it was compelled to engage in an emergency power supply agreement with Delta P, resulting in consumers bearing the full cost of power.

“In the coming weeks, given the results of the discussions, Cong. Alvarez told me that the Department of Energy (DOE) will be issuing an order or circular about the provision of subsidies for the 26 megawatts contracted by PALECO,” Maminta said in his privileged speech.

“In short, we will be expecting a subsidy in the coming weeks or months, as discussed, agreed upon, and approved by the DOE, our representatives in Congress,” he added.

“Inaasahan natin na mapadali ito, sapagkat ito ay lubusang pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan. Kaya naman maliban sa pasasalamat sa ating mga kinatawan, ay ipinapanukala ko na magpasa tayo ng resolusyon na makikiusap pa sa DOE to expedite the process of subsidy reversion through this transition power supply required by PALECO,” he said.

Maminta, however, noted that there is nothing final yet, except that Romualdes and Alvarez have committed to returning the subsidy on PALECO’s emergency power supply deal with Delta P, its independent supplier.

He stated that members of the House Committee on Energy and the DOE had agreed in principle during the committee hearing, and they want to expedite this due to the imminent end of the one year of EPSA.

“Whatever it is, transition power supply, for as long as maibalik yung subsidy natin sa 26 MW and sa additional pa na kakailanganin natin. I would give it 8-9 out of 10 na malaki ang possibility na maibalik yung subsidy,” Maminta said in an interview with the media.

Maminta said they will also be asking the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to expedite the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) for a new power provider that will meet the province’s growing power demand. The NEA earlier announced it would be conducting the bidding for this new supply agreement instead of PALECO.

Maminta expressed hope that the CSP would address the imminent shortage of power supply in the province within the next six months or a year.

“Kasi yung isang kahilingan na i-fasttrack yung process ng CSP para sa kakulangan pa ng power ay ginawa na agad. May inilabas na order ang NEA addressed to Paleco that they will be taking over pagdating doon sa CSP na kailangang gawin for purposes of the procurement plan for Paleco,” he stated.

“So kailangan madaliin na maisumite sa NEA ng Paleco yung PSPP nila. Kaya dapat madaliin din ng NEA kasi kung tatagal yun at aabutan ng expiry ng EPSA na wala pang bagong power provider, bagong EPSA na naman at kung mag-expire yung iba pang kontrata ng Paleco. So ito yung gusto nating i-avoid at gawan ng solusyon o remedy—yung tagal ng proseso ng CSP,” he added.