January 16, 2023 | 12:00 am
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is implementing measures to mitigate the impact of limited power supply expected in Luzon this summer.
Meralco VP and head of the public services economics department, Lawrence Fernández, said the initiatives being undertaken aim to address both supply and demand aspects.
“In coordination with all stakeholders in the electricity sector, Meralco has been cooperating with the Department of Energy (DOE) on various measures to mitigate the potential effect of supply shortages, especially for the summer of 2023,” said Fernández.
On the supply side, Fernández said that Meralco is conducting two tenders for short-term power supply agreements, one for 180 megawatts and another for 300 MW.
The supply covers two Competitive Selection Processes (CSP) involving Meralco’s 300 MW maximum requirement from February 26 to July 25 and the 180 MW baseload supply from February 26, 2023 to February 25, 2024 .
“Hopefully that also protects Meralco customers from spot market prices,” Fernández said.
On the demand side, Fernández said Meralco is looking to attract more large end users to participate in the Interrupted Load Program (ILP).
The ILP is a demand-side management program run by the DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in which participants will be asked to temporarily unload from the grid and use their generator sets when there is a deficiency power outages and power outages are imminent.
Pre-registered customers who are temporarily disconnected from the grid are entitled to fuel compensation covering the hours in which the red alert occurred, according to an ERC-approved formula.
Last year, Meralco said that 72 commercial establishments registered with the ILP were instrumental in guaranteeing the continuous supply of electricity in its franchise area when the Luzon grid went on red alert in September.
As part of its demand-side initiatives, Fernández said the power distributor is also collaborating with the DOE on an energy efficiency communications plan.
With rising energy rates, Meralco has advised its customers to continue to practice energy efficiency in order to better manage their electricity use.
“We are encouraging customers through a stronger communication plan to exercise energy efficiency,” said Fernández.
The DOE has been driving demand-side management programs for various sectors to help alleviate the supply shortages expected in the summer months.
These programs are focused on the use of efficient equipment and appliances, as well as the promotion and implementation of policies and programs that are best suited to each industry.
For the commercial sector, the use of energy-efficient equipment is promoted, such as inverter-type air conditioners and LED lighting, while for the industrial sector, programs are designed to maximize the intensive energy necessary for their operations, such as the use of high-power equipment. inverters, variable frequency drives, and interruptible/restrictable agreements with electricity providers.
Regarding the residential sector, the programs include the promotion of energy efficient household appliances.
“We should consider demand-side management as a necessary element in managing our entire energy supply. If our consumption becomes more efficient, that means we no longer have to run more expensive diesel power plants,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said last week.
“We shouldn’t look at demand-side management as a simple stopgap. Instead, it should be a natural element already integrated into our entire management system,” he said.
Based on its latest outlook for 2023, which factors in projected forced outage ranging from 500-600 MW for the full year along with operation of existing and committed power plants, the DOE expects the Luzon grid to potentially encounter yellow alerts. for several weeks. including the entire month of May.
A yellow alert will be generated when there are not enough reserves to cover the largest operating generating unit at the time, but it does not necessarily lead to power outages.
“For industry stakeholders, we will all work together to try to avoid the impact of any power supply shortages. So both on possible rotating brownouts and, more importantly, on the effect on spot market prices,” Fernández said.
Meralco is the largest electric power distribution company and the largest public service company in the private sector in the country.
The company provides electric service within its franchise coverage and has a consolidated customer count of 7.6 million as of the end of September 2022.