'Power supply shortage in 2015 not as bad as expected'

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2014 03:17 PM | Updated as of Dec 10 2014 11:17 PM

MANILA – An amended version of House Joint Resolution 21, which authorizes President Aquino to contract additional power generating capacity to prevent a power crisis in Luzon in 2015, concedes that the feared power shortage next year won't be as bad as initially projected.

During the period of amendments late Tuesday night in plenary, the authors amended the provision of the bill that specifies the capacity that needs to be addressed by the emergency powers.

"On page 1, lines 12-15, replace the phrase one thousand and four Megawatts (1,004 MW) of which six hundred Megawatts (600 MW) is needed to meet the required dispatchable reserve, and four hundred four Megawatts (404 MW) is needed to meet the required contingency reserve with the phrase seven hundred eighty two Megawatts (782 MW) of which one hundred thirty five Megawatts (135 MW) is needed to meet the required regulating reserve, and six hundred forty seven Megawatts (647 MW) is needed to meet the required contingency reserve the amended version also shows a new timeframe for the expected shortage.

"Replace the phrase four (4) weeks of yellow alert with the phrase two (2) weeks of red alert and fifteen (15) weeks of yellow alert."

The amended version also alters the life of the resolution. "The authority granted to the President shall be valid from effectivity of this Joint Resolution until 31 July 2015 to cover additional generating capacity required for the period of the critical power shortage."

The resolution seeks to address the power shortage through the interruptible load program, where private companies' self-generating power facilities will be tapped to augment power supply when needed.

The cost will be reimbursed by the government according to rates prescribed by the Energy Regulatory Commission if the company registers before January 31, 2015.

It also now makes explicit the source of funding for the implementation of the resolution the Malampaya funds.

"All entities with self-generating facilities (SGFs) shall participate in the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) on or before 31 JANUARY 2015 to stimulate additional generation capacities: Provided, That the government shall reimburse the owners of SGFs or backup generators for fuel expenses and reasonable recovery for their use in accordance with the ERC rules. For this purpose, the President is hereby authorized to source from the Malampaya funds the amount necessary to implement this provision: Provided, further, That the existing ERC rules governing ILP for captive customers shall be expanded to cover contestable and directly-connected customers: Provided, furthermore, That the DOE through the National Transmission Corporation (Transco) may activate additional ILP as may be necessary to meet the exigency of the power shortage, subject to compensation in accordance with existing guidelines; Provided, furthermore, That the reimbursement shall not be subject to Value-Added Tax. Provided, finally, That any entity with SGFs which is not registered under the ILP may be manually de-loaded from the grid without compensation.”

It also suspends the implementation of some laws.

"All national government agencies and local government units are hereby authorized to suspend the operability of pertinent laws, rules, and regulations including, but not limited to mitigating measures adopted for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), Republic Act No. 9367, also known as the ‘Biofuels Act’, Republic Act No. 8749, also known as the ‘Clean Air Act’, The Philippine Grid Code, The Philippine Distribution Code, that may affect the operation and transmission of the contracted generation capacities under this Joint Resolution, to ensure the timely commissioning and utilization thereof."

The bill is expected to be put to a vote on second reading by the plenary at the Lower House on Wednesday.