Blackout threat to profits of businesses
FIRST quarter results of most leading businesses in the Philippines are expected to be disappointing as worsening power shortages continue to plague industry.
Power shortages have intensified in the second quarter due to the low efficiency of hydroelectric plants and repeated breakdowns of other facilities.
The supply shortage is described as ''still critical'' in Sun Hung Kai Philippines' latest quarterly stock market report.
Daily power cuts ranged from five to as long as 10 hours during the first quarter.
The granting of emergency powers to President Fidel Ramos may accelerate the resolution of the crisis.
There was renewed hope this week when residents of Zambales ended their opposition to a US$750 million, 600 megawatt power plant in Masinloc and signed an agreement with the government for the start of construction.
In contrast, 208 million pesos (about HK$63.44 million) worth of unused electric generating equipment has been turning to scrap, exposed to the sun and rain for more than a year in Pampanga province.
During Mr Ramos' visit to China recently, the government again promised to pay for these mini hydro plants, ordered 12 years ago from China National Machinery and Equipment Export-Import Corp.
The near-bankrupt National Electrification Administration is said to lack funds to lease a warehouse to shelter this equipment, and more bought from Britain and France.
Over the past 10 years the NEA managed to install 19 of the plants but 36, mainly from China, remain unused.
China was unable to deliver a further 17.