Electricity price at spot market hits P12.96/kWh

By Paul Anthony A. Isla, Business Mirror

Posted at Apr 19 2010 10:19 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2010 08:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (Wesm), said on Friday that electricity price at the power market has increased to P12.96 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in March from P11.29/kWh in February but had no comment on how it would impact on consumer billings.

In a statement, PEMC said that about 22% of total market transactions for the March billing period were actual purchases from the market and the rest were sourced from bilateral power-supply contracts, which are settled outside the WESM.

“Bilateral power-supply contract transactions are not affected by the prices at the WESM. For the March settlements, the prices in the WESM only affected about 22% of the total energy consumption for Luzon,” said Mario Pangilinan, PEMC executive vice president.

There were also scheduled outages of natural gas-fired plants such as the Ilijan, Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo power plants. Their absence from the grid exacerbated the low output from hydroelectric power plants due to reduced water in dams brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

He said these factors increased the contribution of coal, as well as diesel and oil-based generators, in the generation mix and an unexpected increase in demand in the first quarter.

The PEMC noted that low output from hydroelectric plants to 6.45% in March from 8.19% in February also contributed to shortage in supply, increasing the diesel/oil-based plant contribution to 9.3% from 8.27% in February, as well as coal-fired plant usage from 42.71% to 46.90%.

Due to the volatility of spot prices, PEMC said that distribution utilities are encouraged to establish mitigating measures such as having bilateral contracts to lessen the impact on consumer billings of volatile prices in the WESM.??

“WESM is a market that also acts as a clearing-house providing settlement services for the trading of electricity. The market prices you see now only reflects the interaction of supply and demand,” said Melinda Ocampo, PEMC president.