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Consumers may end up paying for add’l capacity from ILP

Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Consumers may end up paying for additional power capacity that would be taken from the so-called Interruptible Load Program (ILP) as Congress remains unable to grant President Aquino special powers to tap additional supply for summer.

At the close of session yesterday, the House and the Senate remained deadlock on where to source the money to compensate ILP participants.

The House version wants the government to shoulder the cost of utilizing the ILP, which House Committee on Energy chairman, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, said would cost P100 million a month.

One option was to source the compensation fund from the revenues of the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project in offshore Palawan.

On the other hand, the Senate version wants consumers to shoulder the cost of using the ILP. Senate Committee on Energy chairman Serge Osmeña said consumers would only pay an additional four centavos per kilowatt-hour.

The ILP is a program wherein big power users would use their own generators to ease demand from the grid. The electricity that would not be taken from the grid would be used for other customers such as residential users, sparing them from rotating blackouts.

The cost would come from fuel expenses to be incurred by ILP participants since they would use their own generators and not source their electricity from the grid.

Umali said there are no more meetings scheduled because the Senate stands firm on its position. Unless the House agrees on the pass-on provision, the Senate does not want to reconvene the bicameral conference committee, he said.

He said both Senate and the House are “stalemated.”

Osmeña said that consumers must also feel responsible for the use of energy, which is why they must shoulder the cost.

President Aquino asked for special authority to tap additional capacity for the summer as early as last year but deliberations at both chambers of Congress took time. Thus, up until yesterday, no joint resolution was passed.

There is a projected power supply shortage of 700 megawatts this summer due to the one month maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas field from March 15 to April 13. The gas field supplies three natural gas power plants in Luzon, accounting for 40 percent of the requirements of the Luzon grid.

As of yesterday, the Luzon grid had enough reserves at 1,608 MW as system capacity was at a comfortable 9,577 MW against demand of 7,667 MW.

Power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said that if this trend continues and that there are no forced outages among power plants, the Luzon grid may survive the summer season with minimal blackouts or hopefully, none at all.

 “The key is the plants continue running,” Meralco president Oscar Reyes said.

HOUSE AND THE SENATE HOUSE COMMITTEE INTERRUPTIBLE LOAD PROGRAM LUZON MALAMPAYA MANILA ELECTRIC CO MERALCO MINDORO ORIENTAL REP OSCAR REYES PRESIDENT AQUINO
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