WESM remains in operation

By Myrna M. Velasco

Despite ‘state of calamity’ declaration by the Office of the President, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has announced that it will not be suspending the operations of the country’s Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

Questions were raised last week relative to the propounded suspension of the spot market given that staffers manning it may also be compromised when it comes to their exposure to the lethal novel coronavirus.

But the ERC ruled that the WESM “will continue to operate amidst the government’s declaration of a state of public health emergency,” with the regulatory body noting that such “ensures that the distribution utilities will have a stand-by source of power supply and provide con¬tinuous electricity.”

In previous instances, a declaration of state of calamity calls for the automatic suspension of the WESM’s operations – although on those incidents, these were mostly triggered by natural calamities; and it is the first time that it is anchored on a public health crisis.

ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera stressed that “the Com¬mission has been closely monitoring the activities in the WESM and there is no breach in the criteria or parameters that would warrant the declaration of a market suspension at this time.”

The ERC further indicated that both the market operator (or the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines) and the system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines set out assurance “of their abilities to continue their operations amid the nationwide community quarantine.”

The regulatory body said both firms submitted their respective business continuity plans (BCPs) relating to the enforced month-long enhanced community quarantine.

The market operator and its governing body Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), as similarly noted, are currently at their ‘business as usual’ scenario, despite the prevailing conditions in the country.