Monday, April 18, 2016

Strategic Measures in Place to Ensure Power During Elections

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Power Task Force Election (PTFE) 2016, led by the Department of Energy (DOE), lays down measures to ensure that power supply is sufficient, stable, and reliable before, during, and after the conduct of national and local elections on 09 May.

"Actually, we have two task forces that are looking into the integrity of the power supply chain to secure supply of electricity particularly during the period one week before and one week after the election day, especially within and near the voting precincts," said Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada.

Sec. Monsada further averred that since December last year, the PTFE has started ground works, including coordination meetings with energy stakeholders, and identification of tasks and responsibilities of member agencies in employing strategic and preparatory measures to ensure availability and stability of power supply not only for the elections period, but for the entire summer months.

The PTFE's latest and ongoing initiatives to ensure that all systems nationwide are ready and in place prior to the elections include conduct of tabletop drills and information, education and communication campaigns among stakeholders (i.e., Distribution Utilities, Generation Companies, Transmission Companies, and various government energy agencies) to equip them with best practices during crisis management; directive to DUs to ensure power supply by contracting needed capacities ahead, and making sure that backup power is available should power failure occur; prioritization scheme for the provision of electricity service to voting centers; and advisory to gencos to undertake maintenance either ahead or after the critical period to enable all available plants to run on full capacity during these times.

The DOE is also closely monitoring maintenance shutdown schedules of plants to make sure that all plants will come online before April ends. Based on the latest monitoring, most plants are already back online, but not all are running at full capacity. For example, the 180 MW Kalayaan U3 is already back on stream with Kalayaan Unit 4 still on forced outage.

Moreover, the government-owned Malaya power plant is already on stream as a must-run unit during weekdays where power demand is higher compared to weekends. Currently, the plant’s Unit 1 provides 290 MW of capacity, while the Unit 2 is still starting up and is expected to be online tonight further augmenting the power supply in Luzon.

The DOE is also pleased to note that MERALCO’s Interruptible Load Program in its franchise area accounting for about 826 MW from the self-generating facilities of enrolled establishments during instances of power supply deficit. During last week’s red alert status, ILP deloaded 247 MW of power from 121 participants which averted the on-grid peak demand breaching the 9,700 MW level. The high and increasing heat index has a direct correlation with power consumption which has risen by more than 700 MW from the historic peak level last year.

Alongside the PTFE, President Benigno S. Aquino III also created the Inter-Agency Task Force on Securing Energy Facilities (IATFSEF) which paved the way for concerned national government agencies, local government units and other energy stakeholders to commit for the protection and preservation of the country's energy facilities from insurgency and persistent right of way issues.

It has to be noted that through the IATFSEF, the tower no. 25 in Lanao del Sur which was bombed last December 2015 was restored, allowing the transmission of power from Agus 1 & 2. Consequently, the IATFSEF, through the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), continues to implement maintenance work along the transmission system to uphold its integrity and reliability.

Meanwhile, the DOE reiterates its earnest call to the public to undertake energy efficiency and conservation initiatives, such as setting the thermostat of air-conditioning units installed in their offices and households at 25˚Celsius; and/or by adjusting the usage period of any electric appliances away from the peak hours (i.e., 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. in Luzon and 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. in Visayas and Mindanao), such as, ironing of clothes, unnecessary use of computers, and even the laundry of clothes using washing machine and dryer, as any contribution really does matter.

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