Friday, December 18, 2009

No need for power contingency plan, Comelec says

12/18/2009 | 10:06 PM

Original Story:

The Philippines’ poll body will no longer adopt a proposed contingency plan that will ensure the conduct of the May 2010 elections even with a power failure.

Voting machines to be used for the exercise have sufficient energy reserves to run for 16 hours straight, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

As a result, the measures – as proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) through the government-led National Power Corp. (Napocor) – will no longer be needed, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said.

The 82,200 precinct count optical scan machines (PCOS) “can all work until 16 hours so there is no need for any contingency measures for any possible power interruptions," Larrazabal said in an interview.

Each of the Philippines’ 74,000 precincts will be assigned a PCOS machine, Larrazabal said

He added that the spare 8,200 units would be deployed to areas that would need the machines in case some would incur issues.

The election body and the poll machine supplier – Smartmatic Corp and its partner-Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) – were very ensured that power failure will not interrupt the election process.

"This is precisely the reason why we make sure that there is enough power reserve," Larrazabal said. “We don’t want to encounter any problem during the election day itself."

Earlier, the energy department warned of an impending power supply shortage in Luzon by 2010, which could affect elections held during the middle of the year.

Besides being the Philippines’ largest island, Luzon also has more than 20 million registered voters, Comelec data said.

In its Power Supply and Demand 2008-2017 report, the DOE said that Luzon – the Philippines’ largest island – requires 3,000 megawatts of power during the period.

Currently, power plants that can produce up to an estimated 600 megawatts are committed to be built for Luzon. A separate 3,380 mW of indicative projects are still in the pipeline.

Both Visayas and Mindanao, the country’s third- and second-largest islands, are also expected to incur electricity shortages.

Visayas requires 500 mW during the same period but only has 320 mW of committed projects. Only about 186 mW are indicative projects.

Mindanao needs 600 mW during the period but only has 100 mW of committed projects while the remaining 576 MW are indicative projects.

To ensure sufficient power supply throughout the country, Napocor asked Congress for a budget allotment of P6 billion to build new power plants and maintain old ones. - with RJAB, Jr./GMANews.TV

Original Story:

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