Wednesday, January 11, 2017

DOE on Malampaya Maintenance: Ensure Supply and Consumer Protection

Wazzup Pilipinas!

With Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi’s strong directive, the Department of Energy (DOE) has instructed industry participants to ensure supply during the Malampaya Maintenance Activities from 28 January- 16 February and possible implementation of price mitigation measures.

“I have directed Usec. Wimpy Fuentebella to closely coordinate and spearhead the power sector’s activities in light of the Malampaya shutdown, Cusi said.

“We’ve already conducted a series of coordination meetings, simulations and exhausting all possible measures that we can implement to ensure supply and avoid price shocks.”

Thus, the DOE is closely monitoring the readiness and execution of the following activities to ensure power supply:

• Availability of fuel requirements for the affected natural gas power plants (NGPP) namely: 1,000 megawatts (MW) Sta. Rita NGPP, 500 San Lorenzo NGPP and 97 MW Avion NGPP. These plants will be using alternative fuel to continue operation and generate electricity during the maintenance period.

• Running of the government-owned 470MW Malaya Thermal Power Plant in Pililia, Rizal.

• Readiness of Interruptible Load Program participants with a total of 900MW enrolled power capacities which would augment supply during critical periods.

• Monitoring and securing generation capabilities of renewable energy facilities, particularly geothermal, hydropower and biomass power plants. For example, water resources for hydropower plants will be impounded to increase generation output during the maintenance period.

Based on the projections, highest demand is projected to reach 8,610 MW on 9 February, while the lowest Reserve level is projected at 706 MW on 16 February which only poses a possible Yellow Alert.

Since ensuring supply in this particular situation inevitably increases power rates, the DOE is looking at the following measures to mitigate steep increase and unwarranted market behavior to ensure utmost consumer protection:

• Staggering payment of additional generation cost from having to use more expensive fuel (diesel and condensate). Natural Gas as fuel only costs around P4/kilowatt-hour and replacement fuel, such as diesel which costs around P6-P8/kWh.

• Reviewing how to lower the secondary price cap in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market with Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

• Implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures being the most effective way to avoid price shocks. The public may apply EE&C measures as simple as these: Reducing time of watching TV from 10 hours to 9 hours which translates to Php19.80/month; Setting to Low electric fan from High to save Php52.80/month; or even Reducing an hour to usual time of ironing of clothes to save Php44.00/month.

“The DOE assures the public that it will exhaust all possible legal options and measures to ensure supply and protect consumers from price shocks, but we cannot do it alone. That’s why we are also asking the public to remain vigilant and cooperative in managing their consumption.”

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