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By Windsor Genova
Half a million residents and businessmen in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao have threatened to file a $116 million (5 billion peso) lawsuit against the government to get compensation for damages to their appliances and store equipment caused by continuing power outages.
Congressman Angelo Palmones, who represents the partylist Agham, announced the potential legal action Wednesday against the Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Regulatory Commission, National Power Corp., and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.
Another partylist representative, Raymond Democrito Mendoza of the labor union Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, claimed that the power shortage in Mindanao is artificial and accused power generators of deliberately keeping power capacity down.
The Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industries Inc. appealed to the presidential palace in Manila to increase the power load for Mindanao to address the low productivity that is causing local businesses to lose millions of pesos.
On Wednesday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the DOE is poised to deploy private power barges to Mindanao to temporarily address the energy crisis there once they are contracted by the government or private power distributors.
The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the private operator of the state-owned transmission grid, estimated the power deficit for Mindanao at 190 megawatts. It said the amount of electricity distributed to Mindanao is 1,084 MW but usage is at 1,274 MW.
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Philippine Power Outages Spark $116M Suit Against Government | Global Viewpoint