QUEZON CITY, May 6, 2022 – The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), a climate and energy group, lauds the concerted efforts of the Department of Energy (DOE), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), power producers, Meralco and other utilities, large end-users, business groups, and the general public in ensuring sufficient power supply during the election period. Barring simultaneous unplanned outages of large base-load plants, these initiatives should enable the country to have a smooth election process from start to finish.
“We are glad to see the energy sector is taking action to ensure that power outages can be avoided and that in turn will ensure credible elections this May 9. As we said in February, getting households, institutions, and companies to act was the main purpose of our report. We released the analysis to ensure that everyone is informed and ready to do their part so we can have the best case scenario,” said Atty. Pedro Maniego Jr., senior policy advisor of ICSC.
“Our message is the same, stay vigilant particularly this May even as we hope to see this kind of action moving forward beyond the elections. In the long run, what the people really need is an energy system that is truly affordable, reliable, and secure,” Maniego added.
In its February report entitled “Luzon Power Outlook: Determining the Adequacy of Power Supply for April to June 2022”, ICSC predicted an electricity shortfall in the Luzon grid throughout the second quarter of 2022. These findings, including the raising of red alert status in the Luzon grid due to a deficit of 1,335 megawatts (MW) in the country’s power supply, were affirmed by the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP). A red alert is declared if the supply-demand balance deteriorates further to the point where power interruptions must be resorted to, whereas a yellow alert is raised when the electricity supply in a specific area is low.
In preparation for the national elections, coal plants are not allowed to have planned and scheduled outages from March 26 until June 2022, according to the approved Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP) 2022-2024. However, 12 out of 23 coal plants in Luzon have experienced shutdowns after March 25. As of May 5, one coal plant is still on shutdown. Semirara Mining and Power Corporation’s Calaca Unit 2 has been down since November 2021.
Meanwhile, as early as April, four Luzon coal plants in Batangas have already exceeded the annual outage limit set by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), namely: Calaca Unit 2, South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation’s (SLTEC) Unit 2, Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation’s (SLPGC) Unit 2, and SLTEC Unit 1. As of May 5, Sual Unit 2 is seven outage days away from exceeding the mandated limit due to its recent extended outage.
ICSC’s energy transition advisor Alberto Dalusung III said there are measures that can be put in place to address the lack of energy security. These include urging private companies to utilize their generator sets in the meantime while ordinary citizens should start shifting to energy-saving technologies.
“Kung pagtulungan po natin, hindi po tayo magsa-suffer sa ganyang blackouts…. Mas maganda na gamitin na natin iyong mas bago ngayon, iyong mga LEDs, mas maliit ang konsumo nila kumpara doon sa dating teknolohiya sa ilaw (If we do our individual part, we will not suffer from these kinds of blackouts…. It would be better if we shift to energy-saving technologies such as LED lights),” Dalusung said in an interview earlier this week.
Ira Guerrero: email@example.com, +63 917 149 5649, +63 998 546 9788