Power consumption drops 30% amid Luzon-wide quarantine

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Electricity consumption has dropped by around 30 percent amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The electricity demand is based on the Department of Energy’s monitoring.

Most of the economic activities have slowed down, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

COVID-19 has also affected ongoing construction and other activities in the energy sector.

“We received reports that some of the foreign contractors and workers are not able to travel. There are also issues on the late delivery of imported equipment and parts needed for energy facilities (generation, distribution projects, because of the slowdown in global production,” Cusi said.

Cusi said these may result to delays in the completion of ongoing projects and repairs and further hinder energy-related investments.

While the primary concern is to contain the virus spread, the DOE said the energy sector would cooperate with government while providing unimpeded 24/7 energy services during the quarantine period.

Last week, the DOE has issued a memorandum on the unimpeded delivery of energy services and called on concerned local government units to exempt the delivery of goods.

It hopes the memorandum will exempt the delivery of goods and, in particular, the movement of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. personnel from the lockdown, given the major role of Malampaya in providing power supply to the Luzon grid.

SPEX, the operator of Malampaya Deep Water Gas Field under Service Contract No. 38 (SC38), has raised operational concerns amid the Luzon-wide quarantine.

Among the concerns raised by SPEX were the possible access restriction of critical operational and engineering staff and contractors, including vehicles used for transport purposes in NCR; continuation of the operations of the Batangas Supply Base in Batangas Port; continuation of the operations of marine supply vessels and other support vessels that berth in Palawan and Batangas and the need for unhindered crew change cycles of offshore personnel operating the Malampaya platform.

Operating since 2001, the Malampaya Gas Field is a deep-water gas-to-power project that uses indigenous resources of natural gas, which delivers 20 percent of the Philippines’ electricity requirement.

The DOE has implemented initiatives to ensure unhampered energy services also in the downstream oil industry.

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