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‘Luzon power supply stable despite El Niño’

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The power situation in Luzon, including Metro Manila, will be stable in the last quarter this year until mid-2016 despite the prevailing El Niño phenomenon, according to former energy secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.

In a recent media forum in Manila, Petilla said Luzon’s power outlook is stable since it is not dependent on hydropower.

He said most of the country can mitigate El Niño’s impact on power supply since new power plants are expected to operate soon.

Petilla said the country’s power situation is manageable, with energy conservation and strict monitoring of new power plants that will go online.

El Niño, a phenomenon characterized by below-average rainfall, is now categorized as “strong” by scientists worldwide and is expected to last until the first half of 2016.

Petilla urged electric cooperatives, consumers and generation companies to continuously monitor existing generating capacity in preparation for the dry spell.

El Niño threatens to slash power production in areas like Mindanao, which is heavily reliant on hydropower plants. 

Petilla stressed the need to monitor additional capacities to determine if new power plants will produce electricity at the committed time.

Despite the manageable outlook, he said electric cooperatives, especially in Mindanao, must start preparing for the long dry spell.

 “There’s a need to prepare for El Niño because it is expected to last up to next year. There are alternative sources such as diesel power plants, which can be tapped by electric cooperatives,” Petilla said.

 He said Mindanao could not rely solely on water to be rationed by authorities because the priority of the National Water Resources Board is for drinking and agriculture. Hydropower plants only come in third in the water board’s priority.

 To prevent power outages, Petilla said one option is to revisit the Interruptible Load Program, where companies can use their own generators, easing demand from the grid.

ACIRC ATILDE CARLOS JERICHO PETILLA EL NI INTERRUPTIBLE LOAD PROGRAM LUZON METRO MANILA MINDANAO NATIONAL WATER RESOURCES BOARD PETILLA POWER
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