Power demand to spike as lockdowns ease, energy dept says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2020 04:01 PM

Power demand to spike as lockdowns ease, energy dept says 1
A lineman from an electric company takes a rest after working on electricity meters in Manila on May 13, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Energy said Friday demand for electricity would likely surge as more areas emerge from coronavirus lockdowns, highlighting the need to ensure enough supply.

Select businesses will be allowed to operate at limited capacity in Metro Manila starting May 16, when the 2-month old lockdown is replaced by a modified enhanced community quaratine or modified ECQ that will last until May 31.

Currently, there is around 12,000 MW in supply catering to demand of up to 9,000 MW, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a video conference. It will likely balloon when all areas move out of quarantine, he said. 

"As we are preparing for the post-quarantine, we have to ensure that power supply will be sufficient. Under the post quarantine i-increase ang demand niyan (the demand will increase)," Cusi said.

"So hahataw 'yan pagdating ng post-quarantine (it will accelerate post quarantine), and we have to make sure that we have enough supply," he added.

Power plants that were supposed to be completed by June cannot be delayed including the 668 MW GN Power Dinginin coal-fired plant in Mariveles, Bataan, Cusi said. 

Cusi said the DOE was discussing billing issues with distributor Meralco after consumers complained of spikes in their May billing and other payment issues.

Meralco earlier said it would offer staggered payments for electric bills covered by the quarantine period. Billing for the period where physical reading is suspended will be based on the previous 3 months billing of households, it said.