DOE requires contingency supply for VisMin

Published February 21, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) has directed power firms to prepare ‘contingency measures’ to guarantee uninterrupted power supply in Visayas and Mindanao, especially during the summer months and on the anticipated rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines.

The energy department has already convened key stakeholders such as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the generation companies (GenCos), Energy Regulatory Commission, National Power Corporation, National Transmission Corporation and the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), which is the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), for a strategic planning as the country braces for the peak demand months of summer.

 As laid down by the Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) of the DOE, coordination has to be assured, so the industry could systematically address possible issues that may affect the power situation in the two regions.

Energy Undersecretary Emmanuel P. Juaneza said, “We need to stretch all our resources without compromising the quality of our work to achieve a stable power situation throughout the year.”

He stressed that the most critical period being monitored would be the summer months because  demand could drastically increase, and the coinciding Covid-19 vaccination program that may further compound the situation.

“We have to do our best in ensuring that the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines nationwide will be unhampered,” he said.

 Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has already mandated all distribution utilities to make certain that they have ample contracted capacity to underpin both the Covid-19 inoculation process, as well as the anticipated spike in electricity consumption as warmer weather sets in. 

 In addition, the expected approval of the proposed wider re-opening of establishments and more sectors of the economy is also expected to trigger further escalation in power demand this year.

 In the presentation of system operator NGCP, it assessed that “there are ample power supply and reserve based on the DOE forecast,” and as hinged on the submitted maintenance schedules of power plants.

Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola impressed upon industry stakeholders that they have paramount role “in protecting and preserving the vaccines” because their efficacy will primarily hinge on proper handling and storage, which means stable energy supply in the process.

“It is very important for us to prepare for the expected increase in demand in the coming months,” he said, reiterating that “summer is coming and more importantly, the government will be rolling out the nationwide vaccination program.”