The summer season is upon us. During summer, electricity use by all types of consumers spike as aircons, refrigerators, and electric fans are used longer and work harder. This is the time when all consumers should be watchful about prices and consumption behavior.
What is the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program or GOMP?
The GOMP is the schedule of planned outages of power generating plants as well as transmission facilities. The GOMP is supposed to ensure energy security in the country and accountability, transparency, and reliable operation of the power system. The GOMP used to be a confidential document and consumers did not have access to it.. The submission of the GOMP is required by the Grid Code, section 6.5, 2016 edition.
I recall that I wrote the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation in 2019 to investigate whether collusion happened when power plants went on outages one after the other and the spot market prices shot up to P30.00 per kwh. The Market Operator found violations in the market rules regarding the timely submission of offer prices and imposed monetary fines, but deferred to the Energy Regulatory Commission on the matter of collusion. The pandemic has since overtaken the Commission’s investigation and, to date, there is no official closure of the investigation, nor a report submitted to the Senate.
In order to compel the publication and access by the consumers of the GOMP, I filed in December 11, 2019 a Petition with the Energy Regulatory Commission wherein I alleged that public disclosure of the GOMP shall serve the purpose of checks and balance amongthe stakeholders, the consumers and the regulators. I added that the confidentiality of the GOMP raises the possibility that generating plants can adjust their outages schedule for the purpose of manipulating prices in the spot market.
Thus the Department of Energy issued Department Circular 2020-02-0004, captioned “Providing Guidelines on the Planned Outages of Power Plants and Transmission Facilities and the Public Posting of the Grid Operating and MaintenanceProgram.”The copy of the Circular can be accessed at www.doe.gov.ph.
Very important and mandatory, the Circular provides that there shall be no scheduled maintenance during the peak quarters, i.e. April, May, June, exceptfor hydroelectric plants.
The GOMP applies to all generating companies owning and operating facilities that are grid connected: the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, the Market Operator of the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation and the Distribution Utilities connected to the grid.
The GOMP is a 3 -year planned outage schedule and when observed, the maintenance schedules shall result into reliable and efficient operation of the power plants. The GOMP is submitted annually on the last quarter of the year, for approval of the DOE.
The approved GOMP is mandated to be posted in the website of the NGCP and, thereafter, in the websites of the DOE, ERC and the MO.
The current GOMP covers the period 2020-2022. However, the 2021 Weekly Demand, Supply and Reserve Profile, which was prepared in October 2019, is obsolete as it contained pre-pandemic data. The GOMP can be accessed at https://ngcp.ph/doe.
Allow me to inform all consumers what the data mean as it may impact on prices and consumption.
There are three (3) lines in the Graph, Black (Required Dispatchable Reserve) the top line; Yellow (Required Contingency Reserve) the middle line; and Red (Required Regulating Reserve), the bottom line .
The charts compare the estimated reserve versus the required reserve levels.
If the Bar falls below the Yellow line, then a “Yellow Alert” is being forecasted for that week. In layman’ s terms, that means the Grid does not have enough reserves to avoid rolling blackouts if a large generating unit trips out.
If the Bar falls below the Red line, then the grid will be on “Red Alert” and has a very high likelihood of rolling blackouts for the peak hours of the day.
As consumers, we have two (2) concerns. One is on prices. Low level of reserves is typically accompanied by spikes in spot market prices. The other is the supply concern. In this situation, consumers may have to resort to some form of restraint in consumption and practice conservation.
This is the kind of information that DOE must publicize, via the GOMP. Likewise, it should warn power plants not to take advantage of the situation. The DOE should already publicize the updated 2021 Weekly Demand, Supply and Reserve Profile as the peak quarter is now here. Any adjustments or change of schedule due to emergency situations of the Generating Facility shall be approved by the System Operator and shall be notified to the DOE.
Atty. Vic Dimagiba is President of Laban Konsyumer Inc. [email protected]