Gov’t says 20-hour outages in Occidental Mindoro to be resolved

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THE 20-hour power outages in Occidental Mindoro will be resolved in two months, an official from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) said.

In vowing to address the long power interruptions, NEA administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda said that he will personally look into the situation.

“I will be flying to see for myself the situation of the powerplant [in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro], if it has dependable capacity of six megawatts. If it can deliver and discharge already, I will contract them to discharge the six megawatts,” Almeda said.

Earlier, the province of Occidental Mindoro had declared a state of calamity following the lack of power supply.

“NEA will be the one to lease the power plant to augment the power supply and address the shortage,” he added.

Likewise, Almeda said that based on the report of the Department of Energy, they had issued a certificate of exemption or EPSA (emergency power supply agreement).

This will allow the government to enter a contract with DMCI Power Corporation for additional power supply.

“DMCI promised to roll out 10 megawatts in a matter of 30 days, [and another] seven megawatts in two months,” Almeda said.

Almeda said that he has given instructions to the cooperatives that have four units of modular generator sets with two-megawatt capacity each, to send them to the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (Omeco).

This will be used to provide immediate power supply for hospitals and public schools.

Occidental Mindoro Governor Eduardo Gadiano had declared that hospitals and schools in the province are being spent over the 20-hour daily power outages.

Meanwhile the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) clarified the issue over the shortage of electricity supply in Occidental Mindoro causing daily 20-hour power outages.

“Out of the three PSAs signed by Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (OMECO) and Occidental Mindoro Consolidated Power Corporation (OMCPC) on 12 January 2022, only two (2) PSAs were actually filed with the Commission,” the ERC said.

They added that the PSAs were already granted provisional authorities on March 26, 2022 and June 10, 2022.

The provisional authorities allow the supply of around 12MW from OMCPC to OMECO, and permit the flow of subsidies from the National Power Corporation (NPC) to OMCPC based on the ERC-approved rates.

The third PSA, with capacity of around 18-24MW which could address the capacity requirements in Occidental Mindoro, is not yet filed with ERC after more than a year since it was signed between OMECO and OMCPC. Based on the pre-filing records, the project still lacks key permits, such as environmental permits, which are required in applying PSAs for approval by ERC.

“The ERC wishes to emphasize that the PSAs filed by OMECO and OMCPC were provisionally resolved within 75 days from the day of filing in accordance with ERC’s rules, contrary to allegations of delay in matters regarding the PSAs,” they said.

INCREASED DEMAND

On the other hand, the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) discussed its updates on the Philippine Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao regions covering the March and April billing months.

“While demand for electricity increased due to rising temperatures brought about by the summer

season, the market remained stable, with ample supply levels across all grids,” the IEMOP said.

According to the IEMOP, the Luzon and Visayas markets recorded an average demand increase from 10,244 MW in March to 11,033 MW in April 2023.

Meanwhile, for Mindanao, the average demand increased from 1,752 MW to 1,790 MW.

The IEMOP said that the increase in demand led to the recorded year-to-date peak levels in all grids. Luzon demand recorded a new peak at 12,221 MW on April 19, 2023, while Visayas demand peaked at 2,380 MW on April 17, 2023.

Mindanao also recorded a new peak demand of 2,363 MW on April 19, 2023.

These figures showed an increase of 6% for Luzon and 10% each for Visayas and Mindanao regions compared to the same period last year.

Despite the increase in demand, supply levels for Luzon and Visayas improved from 14,226 MW in March to 14,612 MW in April, as fewer generators were scheduled for outage.

On the other hand, Mindanao recorded ample supply levels at around 3,018 MW for March and April.

However, market prices increased from P6.57 to P7.68 pesos per kilowatt-hour from March to April 2023 billing periods for Luzon and Visayas.

In contrast, the market price for Mindanao went down from P6.56/kWh in March to P 5.36/kWh in April.

IEMOP emphasized the importance of energy efficiency and conservation in managing the electricity market, especially during peak demand periods. Consumers are encouraged to practice energy-saving measures such as turning off lights and unplugging appliances when not in use.

Catherine R. Cueto

Occidental Mindoro

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