By Myrna M. Velasco
Given far-reaching downswing in electricity demand in the past two months because of the rigorous lockdowns imposed by the government, the Department of Energy (DOE) indicated that it will be revising the country’s power supply-demand forecasts for the rest of the year.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi stated that for the month of May, electricity supply in the biggest power grid of Luzon has already been peaking at 9,000 megawatts, driven mainly by higher temperatures due to the summer season.
That demand level, he said, is anticipated to climb higher to 12,000 megawatts once the modified enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measures will finally be lifted or eased to less intense level.
“Aside from making sure that we have enough supply, we also see increase in demand when we lift the quarantine,” the energy chief stressed.
Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola said the department is currently collating data that shall serve as the government’s foundation in rewiring supply-demand projections in the power sector.
Nevertheless, he admitted they are still constrained by data flow – especially from the sphere of the distribution utilities (DUs) because most of them have yet to execute actual meter readings on the consumption of their subscribers during the ECQ period from mid-March to May.
At this point, Delola qualified that the most tangible upshot had been the precipitous slide in demand in Luzon grid in the past two months, although consumption was seen shifting a bit to residential end-users as most commercial establishments and industries had been closed during the lockdown period.
“What happened during the pandemic was that: The residential consumption went up, but it was not able to compensate the drop in commercial and industrial sectors’ usage,” the energy official stressed.
The supply-demand cycle in Luzon during the ECQ phase though had not been parallel to the experiences of Visayas and Mindanao grids, with Delola noting that residential consumption had always been traditionally higher in the two other power systems.
Given such developments then, he stressed that updating of data as well as revision in projections would be warranted, hence, concrete figures and solid basis would have to be established for that.
“We’re looking at per industry movement, but we don’t have data yet from the distribution utilities like Meralco (Manila Electric Company) because they have not done meter reading yet during the ECQ,” Delola said.