Govt wants disaster-proof power facilities in PHL

THE Department of Energy (DOE) signed last week an energy resiliency policy that seeks to strengthen existing energy infrastructure and systems.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said the “Adoption of Energy Resiliency in the Planning and Programming of the Energy Sector to Mitigate Potential Impacts of Disasters” is meant to aid industry partners to plan and address potential impacts of disasters since the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to disasters.

Basically, the policy revolves around four principles: strengthen existing infrastructure facilities; implement the Build Back Better principle in terms of reconstruction and rehabilitation; improve existing operational, maintenance and practices to ensure continuous operations and energy supply; and develop resiliency standards that will be used as basis in the future construction of energy facilities.

“These principles are geared toward mainstreaming disaster-risk reduction to ensure energy resiliency as a priority to protect the people,” said Cusi, who signed the policy on January 17.

One of the key features of the policy is the institutionalization of the Resiliency Compliance Plan, which provides engineering and nonengineering measures to ensure infrastructure and human-resource disaster preparedness.

“Through this policy, we enjoin all the energy stakeholders to put upfront disaster risk-reduction programs into their respective planning and investments,” Cusi pointed out.

To oversee the implementation of the policy, the DOE is strengthening the Inter-agency Task Force on Securing Energy Facilities through the creation of the Task Force on Energy Resiliency.

The task force is composed of representatives from the National Electrification Administration, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, National Power Corp., National Transmission Corp., Philippine National Oil Co. and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. The task  force will continue its partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the other agencies under the Department of National Defense.

Earlier, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it is already implementing various resiliency measures to protect its power facilities in the event that a disaster takes place.

“It’s something that we are already doing. We started doing that about three years ago,” Meralco President Oscar Reyes said.

Reyes added the utility firm continues to work on weather- and storm-hardening projects for improved resiliency. “We implement new design standards for our network to be resilient to cope up, for example, with wind speed.”

Meralco told the DOE that the adoption of resiliency measures would require additional capital expenditures and operational expenditures.

As such, distribution utilities (DUs) would need to be allowed to recover the expenses consequent to these resiliency measures within a reasonable period.

“In the case of regulated entities, such as DUs, the recovery of capital and operational expenses is subject to the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC),” said Meralco in a position paper.

Reyes said he could not quantify the amount needed to implement additional resiliency programs. “It will entail additional spending, but this is part of the norm.”

The SN Aboitiz Power (Snap) also told the agency that it has put in place a program to protect its power facilities against natural disasters. Nonetheless, it assured the agency that it will comply with the policy.

“As good corporate citizens and energy industry participants, SN Abpitiz Power-Magat Inc. and SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet Inc…have ready and existing plans to protect its power assets, the nonpower components and the communities inhibiting the environs, including farmer-beneficiaries,” Snap Vice President-Chief Technology Officer Emmanuel Lopez said.

SNAP owns and operates the 380-MW Magat Hydro-Electric Power Plant (HEPP), the 105-MW Ambuklao HEPP and the 140-MW Binga HEPP.

Reference:

Lectura, L. (January 22, 2018). Govt wants disaster-proof power facilities in PHL. Business Mirror. Retrieved from https://businessmirror.com.ph/govt-wants-disaster-proof-power-facilities-in-phl/

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