Forecast power supply gap in Luzon narrows to 782MW

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 13 2014 11:24 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2014 07:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The projected power supply gap in the Luzon grid next summer has narrowed to 782 megawatts, from the earlier estimate of 1,004 MW, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy said yesterday.

In an interview, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali said under the joint resolution approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the projected shortfall is down to 782 MW from the original estimate of 1,004 MW in the initial draft of the resolution.

“The highest gap is 782 MW or 135 MW is needed for regulating reserves and 647 MW for contingency reserves,” he said.

The contingency reserve refers to the needed capacity to cover for any potential power shortage that may arise should a power plant in the grid conk out. In the case of the Luzon grid, this is equivalent to the Sual power plant in Pangasinan, which has a capacity of 647 MW.

Umali assured that the special powers given to President Aquino to deal with next year’s power supply shortage would be effective only from March to end-July 2015 and would not be extended to avoid abuse.

The resolution would grant the President authority to utilize additional power capacity for next summer through the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

Under the program, big power users will be asked to run their own generators when supply is short in the summer months, instead of getting their power from the Luzon grid. In exchange, they will be compensated for their fuel costs.

The electricity that would not be taken from the grid would be available to households and other users, sparing them from rotating blackouts.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla welcomed the passage of the resolution by the House of Representatives.

“I commend the House for passing the resolution. Needless to say, we still need the Senate to concur for this to be operational,” he said.

He also said there is still time but said that the earlier the joint resolution can take effect, the more ILP participants can join.

“The earlier that we release it probably the more participants we will get. Because probably right now, we have 600 MW of participants, we’d like to raise it to over 1,000 MW,” Petilla said.

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