Daily power supply media updates pushed




By Rose de la Cruz


With the thinning electricity reserves in the Luzon grid this dry season, 1-CARE partylist Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta is asking the energy officials to conduct daily power supply updates to the media so that people are aware when to expect power outages.


“Our energy officials must learn from the recent debacle of the water sector,” he said.


The daily media briefings must publicly disclose specific status reports on power plant operations, scheduled repairs and forced outages.


"I am not being an alarmist. I am being pragmatic and anticipatory. Our energy officials must learn from the recent debacle of the water sector where there was lack of anticipation, delayed reactions, and inadequate immediate responses to supply shortages that could have been avoided. So far, we already had three yellow alerts issued and four power plants on forced outages" Uybarreta said.


"As the weather heats up and summer vacation sets in for millions of students, household power consumption will surely rise because the kids are at home watching tv and using electric fans, aircon units, computers, and smartphones--all of which consume electricity. After this graduation week in most schools, millions of kids will be at home," Uybarreta explained.


He said the worst strain on power reserves could come during the week of May 17-23, according to the peak demand forecast of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and the Department of Energy for Luzon this year which is expected to hit is 11,403 MW.


The highest demand so far was already at 10,180 MW, and that Luzon peak was recorded during March 21.


Uybarreta said, “it is not a good sign when insufficient power reserves placed anew the Luzon Grid on Yellow Alert condition on Monday- roughly a month prior to the mid-term elections on May 13 this year. When our grid is put into Yellow Alert, that means that our power reserves are thinning, and we are nearing red alert status. Red alert means there will be power interruptions.”


Uybarreta there should be strict contingency plans in place for unscheduled outages due to technical problems and force majeure.


"Proactive communication, greater transparency and open sharing of information to the consumers by different parties in the Energy Industry is very important and crucial to consumer welfare. The DOE and ERC must ensure the consumers’ right to accurate and timely information on matters relating to power situation, as this may very well also affect power rates.


The frequent, simultaneous and prolonged power plant outages, coupled with rising demand due to warmer temperature and election-related activities will possibly lead to higher rates for power consumers.


Historically, power rates go up at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, the country’s trading floor of electricity, during summer months because of the tightness in supply.


"These yellow alerts and plant shutdown are very likely to bring power rates upward, and this will have a negative effect on Filipino consumers.


Uybarreta said, “all stakeholders should align, plan ahead, and make concrete steps to ensure there is adequate and reliable supply during summer and midterm elections and to ensure minimal impact on consumers and their electricity bills."