By Myrna M. Velasco
The Department of Energy (DOE) has laid down contingency measures that energy service providers could opt for to sustain their operations despite the island’s closure to tourists’ influx in the next four to six months.
The first initiative set forth by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi through the Cabinet would be the deployment of electric tricycles, “to address problem of sound pollution” in the island.
He said the energy department has yet to assess how many e-trikes could be deployed in the island, especially when it re-opens for massive tourism draw toward the latter part of this year.
On power supply, the energy chief admitted that there shall be sudden downtrend in demand and that could weigh down on the operations of the servicing power utility in the area, mainly for Aklan Electric Cooperative (AKELCO).
Cusi’s prescription then is for AKELCO to temporarily negotiate with its power suppliers for downward adjustment in their capacity off-take or power supply agreements while the island is closed for rehabilitation.
The DOE chief has already instructed Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella to discuss this specific recommendation with the Aklan power utility.
“I gave instruction to (Usec) Wimpy, to talk already to the EC on what their options are so they won’t be telling us that they just settle on that cost pass-on mentality,” he reiterated.
Cusi similarly asserted that he is not amenable to proposals of passing on to consumers whatever losses the utility firm will incur during the six-month capacity cut on its service delivery.
“The electric cooperative must talk to the GenCo (generation company) on the adjustment of the contract for the period, entailing that this is an emergency situation, hence, they should momentarily have to sell their generation volume to other off-takers or end-users,” Cusi stressed.
One viable alternative, he said, will be for the GenCos to channel their capacities to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), especially the part of the pie that could not be used up yet in Boracay island.
“I am well aware that the negative side is: there would be contracted supply that cannot be used. But for them to say, let the other consumers pay for it, we are not amenable to that,” Cusi said.
He emphasized it is already apparent that there will be reduction in electricity demand because of the interim non-operation of the hotels and resorts, “but throwing that capacity in the WESM for the meantime could be the best recourse.”