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Philippines to face power crisis - ADB

The Asian Development Bank has warned of further power crises in the Philippines, brought on by the delay in implementing the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

In a presentation at the 19th World Energy Council Congress and Exhibition (see also P8), ADB Southeast Asia Regional Department principal energy specialist Mukhtar Ahmed said the Philippines was a prime example of how much a failure in power sector reform would cost a government.

"As a result of the delays in implementing the reform programme, private investment in the Philippines' power sector has not been forthcoming, and the country could face yet another power crisis over the medium term," Ahmed said.

The Philippines' power industry was brought to its knees in the early 1990s, and was in dire need of reform, but "a longer-term view of the power sector was not taken and underlying weaknesses were not adequately addressed," Ahmed said.

He added the state power generator National Power Corp. (Napocor) was in a "poor state of health," as a result, with some $20 million in liabilities. The ADB says Napocor's deficit reached $1.6 billion last year, equivalent to 1.9 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003, and could mount to $2.4 billion this year, roughly 2.4 per cent of the GDP.

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