Amid forecasts of thin power supply during elections, DOE told to ensure compliance among energy firms

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Amid forecasts of thin power supply during elections, DOE told to ensure compliance among energy firms
This undated image shows electrical linemen fixing power lines.
Voltaire F. Domingo / Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Win Gatchalian urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure that the grid operator and private energy firms comply with the rules, following reports of possible thin power supply during election period. 

"I am calling on the DOE to ensure that the NGCP (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines) and all other private companies follow the rules. If they do not comply, then don't let them operate, because the consumers will suffer," Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate's energy committee, said in a video posted on his official Facebook page Monday. 

Last week, NGCP pointed out that the Luzon grid may experience thin operating margins- or power in excess of demand- during the summer season, which includes the crucial elections day on May 9, driven by increased energy consumption.

"I am concerned because we know that this year's elections will be automated," Gatchalian, who is running for another term as senator, said.

"If there is no electricity, the machines won't be able to count the votes," he added.

Gatchalian's fellow senator Risa Hontiveros has said that the country must be assured that there will be continuous power supply, as the failure to do so will compromise the integrity of the elections.

Shortly after NGCP released its report, the Energy department said that it does not yet see any concerns which will affect the dry season, citing estimates from its stakeholders' submissions.

In a radio interview, DOE-Electric Power Industry Management Bureau Director Mario Marasigan said the "thin operating margins" which NGCP mentioned, refers to reserves which kick in when a power plant providing power to the grid runs into a problem. 

He added that there is an existing energy task force on elections, headed by the department, which looks at the possible scenarios that can happen during elections, adding that they "do not see any issues in elections if they focus on ensuring power supply." 

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