Why DOE wants malls to lower aircon use

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2015 07:07 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2015 10:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Prices at the electricity spot market in the last weeks of February spiked, from an average price of P3.80 per kilowatthour to over P6 per kwh for a few days.

Meralco, which gets a percentage of its overall supply from the spot market, says generation charge for March will most likely increase although the official announcement of the adjustment will be made on Monday.

With the expected rise in electricity prices comes the increase in consumption, as temperatures also start to soar.

The Department of Energy has issued a memorandum to its employees to set the air conditioning temperatures at 25 degrees Celsius in order to save on consumption.

The memo also authorizes workers to wear "cool attire" to minimize discomfort.

Malls urged to lower aircon use

At the same time, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has also called on the private sector, including malls to save on energy use.

Alfredo Yao, the head of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he will tell members to cooperate with the government initiative.

The management of Robinsons Malls says it is ready to follow but the measure must also consider the comfort of mall goers.

SM Malls, on the other hand, said it will support Petilla's call.

"For so long as it is for the good of the country, we will support DOE Sec. Petilla's program,"Annie Garcia, president of SM Supermalls, said.

Ayala Malls also said it supports energy conservation initiatives.

The DOE wants malls to set their aircons at 25 degrees Celsius from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when consumption in Luzon is at its peak.

From 6,800 megawatts during the peak hours in mid-February, the peak consumption rose to 7,500 megawatts last Friday.

Based on DOE's projection, the peak demand for summer may reach over 9,000 megawatts.

"When we say reduce your consumption, put it at 25 degrees, we're not joking. We're actually talking about 1 big plant being saved, if all of us do it," Petilla said.

According to the DOE estimates, if all consumers join the energy conservation and set their aircon at 25 Celsius, it can bring down the demand by around 400 MW, which is significant in easing the burden on Luzon's thinning electricity reserve for summer.