2020 SUMMER POWER OUTLOOK PRESSCON PANEL: (From L-R) Meralco Vice President Larry Fernandez, Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga, NGCP Power Network Planning Senior Manager Fidel D. Dagsaan Jr., DOE Spokesperson and Undersecretary Wimpy B. Fuentebella, DOE-EPIMB Director Mario C. Marasigan, DOE-EUMB Director Patrick T. Aquino, and DOE-REMB Director Mylene C. Capongcol.
TAGUIG CITY - The Department of Energy (DOE) today led the energy family in assuring the public of concerted efforts to ensure the stable supply of power throughout the year, most especially during the summer season.
“The DOE has been actively working with the entire energy family since November last year for all the necessary preparations, as well as the development of harmonized solutions to make sure that there will be adequate power supply all year round,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said.
A press conference on the 2020 Power Outlook was held in the agency’s headquarters, where representatives from the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) joined DOE officials in outlining the measures being undertaken to eliminate the potential of summer power outages.
Based on the demand forecast of the DOE, the peak demand for 2020 is at 12,285 megawatts (MW) for Luzon; 2,519 MW for Visayas and 2,278 MW for Mindanao. While there is enough power capacity at present, depending on the volume of forced outages, yellow and/or red alerts may be raised.
A forced outage refers to the sudden and unplanned breakdown of a power plant.
HOLISTIC SOLUTIONS AND CONTINGENCY MEASURES
During the press conference, DOE Spokesperson and Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella called for the full cooperation of all industry stakeholders in monitoring and responding to the power demand-supply situations.
Existing measures to prevent power disruptions were also discussed. The Interruptible Load Program gives distribution utilities (DUs), such as MERALCO and ILP implementing electric cooperatives, the option to engage with their high load consumers to voluntarily reduce the latter's electricity demand, and/or use their respective (back up) generator sets to serve their power requirements to help ease demand on the grid. Said program may be activated once the NGCP declares a red alert status, which notifies all possible ILP participants.
In addition, the NGCP will also administer the ILP from its participating Directly Connected Customers, as well as PEZA ecozones and DUs with any ILP participating customers, who are capable of disconnecting to the grid and self-generate power once notified by the NGCP.
The DOE emphasized, however, that these are just contingency measures in the event of forced outages, which are outside of the Department's control and cannot accurately forecast.
Consumers were also encouraged to actively practice energy efficiency and conservation measures to help curb demand.
Meanwhile, the Net Metering policy issued by the DOE gives qualified DU customers the capability to generate electricity for their own use through the installation of up to 100 kW on-site renewable energy (RE) facilities. Unconsumed generated power will be automatically exported to the DU’s distribution system, which would help augment its power distribution capacity, with participating customers earning peso credits to be deducted from their electricity bills.
The continued entry of RE developers in the power industry is being strongly encouraged by the Energy Department through innovative mechanisms, such as the Green Energy Option Program and the proposed Green Energy Pricing Program.
OBLIGATIONS OF NGCP AND DUs
The DOE also stressed the obligations of the NGCP and DUs.
The NGCP, under its franchise and in accordance with its Concession Agreement, should avoid stranded capacities and ensure the availability of transmission lines at all times for incoming capacity.
Under the DOE's new policy on Ancillary Services, the NGCP must also contract firm power supply reserves.
Similarly, DUs, under Section 23 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, must ensure the continuous supply of electricity services, especially during critical times.
Other press conference panelists included DOE-Electric Power Industry Management Bureau Director Mario C. Marasigan, Renewable Energy Management Bureau Director Mylene C. Capongcol, Energy Utilization Management Bureau Director Patrick T. Aquino, Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga and NGCP Power Network Planning Senior Manager Fidel D. Dagsaan Jr.