Luzon power outages pose serious threat to COVID response, economic recovery — Duterte

Published June 15, 2021, 12:20 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has cautioned that the power outages in Luzon might hurt the government’s efforts to respond to the pandemic as well as promote the country’s economic recovery.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a public address on June 14, 2021 (Malacañang)

The President issued the statement after the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) warned about a possible increase in electricity bills if it will follows the ancillary services contracting proposed by the energy department to boost supply.

“Itong weak power, the recent power outages in Luzon pose a serious threat not only in our COVID-19 response measures but also to our economic recovery,” Duterte said during a televised public address Monday, June 14.

Duterte also updated the public about the reason behind the power outages as well as efforts on how to address the situation. He said the Department of Energy explained the power interruptions occurred after several power plants went under “maintenance or became nonoperational at the same time when there was a high demand for electricity because of high temperatures.”

He noted that the energy department has asked the NGCP to comply with its obligations to provide sufficient level of ancillary services and power reserves. “However the NGCP countered that consumers will stand to suffer from soaring electricity rates if it complies with the proposed 100 percent firm contracting for ancillary services,” he said.

The NCCP earlier estimated that the power rate may go up as high as P0.64 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for those in Luzon, P0.54 per kWh for Visayas, and P1.39 per kWh for those in Mindanao.

The transmission firm issued the statement after the DOE insisted on the dispatch of ancillary services “as a response to thin operating margins and possible load dropping in the Luzon grid at various points this year due to multiple power plants on extended outage.”