NEA, electric cooperatives working to ensure stable power for 2022 elections

NEA, electric cooperatives working to ensure stable power for 2022 elections
A volunteer feeds a sample ballot to the vote-counting machine or VCM during a trial run for the May 9, 2022 elections at San Nicolas in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
The STAR / Victor Martin

MANILA, Philippines — The National Electrification Administration (NEA) said it is working with 121 electric cooperatives across the country to ensure stable power during the elections next week.

In an emailed statement on Wednesday, NEA said its task force and the power distributors "all set" for May 9 polls. 

"The NEA has been coordinating with all 121 ECs across the country to prepare for the upcoming national and local elections," NEA said. 

On May 5, ECs will be begin their 24-hour power situation monitoring until May 12 or the end of vote canvassing and declaration of the winners.

"With or without power interruptions, the ECs are to submit reports to the respective NEA Power Task Force Election 2022 power situation monitoring teams twice daily," the agency said. 

The supply of stable power is crucial for the automated polls which will be using vote counting machines that will process the ballots. Continuous power is also required for the timely transmittal of information.

READ: Comelec: System, processes updated to prevent hours-long glitch that marred 2019 polls

The NEA, along with the energy department, National Power Corp. and other agencies, are required to make sure that there will be sufficient and uninterrupted electrical, power supply, and secure transmission facilities during the critical elections, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 10743, dated Dec. 16, 2021. 

In a separate statement on Tuesday, consumer welfare group Kuryente.org called on the government and grid operator to ensure that there will be no brownouts during the May 2022 polls, with its national coordinator Nic Satur, Jr. saying that incidents of unreliable electricity supply will undermine the integrity and sanctity of the polls. 

Possible power interruptions

Last week, Manila-based policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) warned anew that power interruptions may take place during and after the elections as baseload coal-run power plants continue to go on unplanned shutdowns. 

It stood by its earlier power outlook that there will be tight power supply during the second quarter, and that the Luzon power grid may experience a red alert status- which may cause rotating power outages. 

ICSC claimed that some coal power plants are not following the Grid Operating Maintenance Program (GOMP), which contains the schedules on the planned and maintenance outages of power generation facilities. 

Data collected by the ICSC showed that 12 of 23 coal plants in Luzon experienced outages after March 25, the group said on April 28.

It added that four coal plants have exceeded the outage limit, breaching the yearly cap which the Energy Regulatory Commission set. 

In a briefing last month, DOE Director of the Electric Power Industry Management Bureau Mario Marasigan said they do not expect yellow alerts- which signify thinning reserves- to hit the Luzon and Mindanao grids during elections. 

However, he said that the Visayas grid may experience yellow alerts in its afternoon peak performance on the same day. 

On May 9, an estimated 67.5 million Filipinos will flock to polling centers across the country to cast their ballots. — Angelica Y. Yang

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