Meralco pushes Interruptible Load Program participation

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Aug 04 2014 08:53 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2014 04:53 PM

MANILA - Power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is pushing for more Interruptible Load Program (ILP) participants to help achieve the additional power requirements needed next year.

Meralco President Oscar Reyes said the company’s thrust is to “extend the ILP” to as many participants as possible. He provided no additional details.

“We will work with them to extend the program. Clearly, the country—Luzon, in particular—needs it,” said Reyes.

Under the said program, customers with large loads like commercial establishments will be asked to operate their own generator sets if the grid operator projects a need to augment generation capacity in the grid. Through the ILP, the aggregate demand for power from the system will be reduced to a more manageable level, helping ensure the availability of supply during the season.

Targeted ILP participants are those with large embedded generation capacities such as malls, large business establishments and factories. Among those that have signed an ILP agreement with Meralco include Megaworld, Ayala Land, Robinsons Land, Shangri-La Mall, SM Prime Holdings, Metro Gaisano and Waltermart.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, is pushing for the ILP as an immediate solution to the power woes.

“If we pool together, it will free up some 3,000 megawatts [MW] and that’s really a lot. All we have to do is pay them for diesel cost,” said Osmeña, who added that the ILP should be implemented for at least two years, or until the power shortage problem is solved.

Based on Department of Energy projections, there is a deficit of 200 MW next year. An additional 400 MW to 500 MW are needed to serve as buffer supply during the peak months.

When sought for comment, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said the ILP is something that cannot be implemented on a permanent basis unless “Congress passes a law” for this purpose.

“We have been working on this since December last year. However this is voluntary in nature and we have a limited number of participants. We will continue to make [the program] an option and discussions are ongoing,” said the Energy chief.

He pointed out that asking ILP participants to free up power on a longer time frame is going to be difficult. “The sentiment is they will help on during emergency. A number of them might refuse to participate if they will be running [their generators] on a daily basis for several weeks. Another sentiment is that they can run only during emergencies but not for extended hours,” Petilla added.

For Meralco’s part, Reyes said to push for a permanent ILP participation is something that needs to be thoroughly discussed with industry stakeholders.

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