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House defers action on additional power supply for Luzon

Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The House energy committee has deferred action on a resolution that seeks to augment power supply for Luzon for next year’s summer to avert a worst-scenario rotating blackout.

The committee made the decision after ruling out the grant of special congressional authority to President Aquino to rent or buy generators from foreign suppliers, which could cost taxpayers up to P12 billion.

“We will postpone action on the joint resolution to December after next month’s three-week break in the session of Congress,” Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali said.

He said there is no more urgency in approving the measure.

He said the Luzon power supply-demand report submitted by the Department of Energy (DOE) to the committee last Monday eliminated such urgency.

Umali has planned to ask his committee to endorse the resolution containing Aquino’s requested special contracting authority next week so that the House could pass it before the three-week Halloween recess of Congress, set to start on Nov. 1.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla earlier informed the committee that it would take four months to six months for suppliers to transport and install generators to be leased or purchased using such congressional authority.

However, Monday’s DOE report showed that the “critical power supply situation” that Petilla had predicted was not an issue of supply but of thin reserves.

According to the report, Luzon would have enough available power during next year’s summer (March to June) and there would only be short supply of 21 megawatts and 31 MW for the first and second weeks of April, respectively.

The small shortfall, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, which runs the country’s power transmission facilities, would translate to a rotating blackout of just an hour a week, or two hours for the two-week deficit period.

The DOE report contains weekly forecasts on available generating capacity, peak demand, gross reserve, and net reserve.

Available electricity for March would range from 9,059 MW to 9,296 MW, while peak demand was estimated at 8,110 MW to 8,480 MW.

For April, supply was projected at 8,888 MW to 10,178 MW, while consumption was forecast at 8,290 MW to 9,013 MW.

For May, available capacity was put at 10,199 MW to 10,497 MW, while demand was placed at 8,860 MW to 9,017 MW.

For June, available power was forecast at 10,086 MW to 10,176 MW. Consumption was estimated at 8,820 MW to 9,000 MW.

The DOE included in its report its projections for July, but these too show a net supply reserve and not a deficit.

Sticking to ILP

Umali said had his committee chosen the rent or buy generators option, at least five foreign suppliers, including an Australian company, would have offered to participate in the procurement process.

He said his panel would now limit itself to the interruptible load program (ILP), which seeks to encourage private firms to run their own generators during peak-demand hours in the summer of 2015, instead of getting their supply from the Luzon grid.

He said the electricity that they are presently sourcing from the grid would be available to household and other small users.

“As of last count, we have tapped 847 MW from ILP, which is more than sufficient to fill the 21MW-31MW deficit, plus a desired contingency reserve of 647 MW just in case a plant breaks down,” he added. – With Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy, Iris Gonzales

 

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

ENERGY SECRETARY JERICHO PETILLA

FOR APRIL

FOR JUNE

FOR MAY

IRIS GONZALES

LUZON

MARVIN SY

MINDORO ORIENTAL REP

SUPPLY

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