How Interruptible Load Program can help manage power supply

Marj Casal Handog, Rappler.com

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How Interruptible Load Program can help manage power supply
Find out how you can be part of the solution to brownouts

Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Meralco and was produced by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the production of this piece.

Having a stable power supply continues to be one of the Philippines’ major challenges. Just last September, the Luzon Grid was placed under red alert. Several large power plants were on forced outage, following the tripping of a major transmission line. Some parts of the Philippines, including Metro Manila, were advised to expect brownouts.

Fortunately, some households didn’t have to suffer from these brownouts thanks to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

What is the Interruptible Load Program (ILP)? 

It’s a voluntary, demand-side management program that allows customers to collectively reduce electricity drawn from the grid when power interruptions are imminent to ration limited power supply.

In other words, when the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) issues a red alert, for example, Meralco customers who consume large loads of power and have signed up for the ILP are requested to “de-load” by using their own generator sets (gensets) or by reducing their operations.

This way, they are able to free up megawatts (MW) from the grid so small households and businesses without access to generators can use those instead, preventing brownouts. These Meralco customers are then compensated by Meralco per kWh of electricity they were able to contribute. This also ensures that the transfer to gensets or lowering power is within their control, versus a power outage from lack of supply or fluctuations that may damage their equipment.

ILP was first implemented in Visayas and Mindanao to manage the limited power supply and to address outages. In March 2014, DOE implemented ILP in Luzon through Meralco because of the expected power shortages then.

Who is eligible to participate in the ILP?

ILP is open to:

  • Non-contestable customers (electricity end-users who can only procure their energy supplies from their distribution utility)
  • Contestable customers (electricity end-users who meet the eligibility requirements for contestability and threshold level set by the Energy Regulatory Commission to qualify in the contestable market)
  • Locators in economic and freeport zones
  • Directly connected customers

Priority is given to customers with large loads like malls because they have the biggest potential to free up significant MW of power once the NGCP calls for it.

How does the ILP work?

Participants of the ILP work closely with Meralco’s Customer Care and Enterprise and National Government Groups. Meralco guides the participants during the whole process of de-loading.

  • Notification – participants are alerted by Meralco about NGCP red alert warning and participants of ILP are requested to confirm their activation
  • Activation – participants choose between two de-loading windows – 10 am to 1 pm or 12nn to 3 pm – and are asked to de-load immediately once advised by Meralco. Participants can also choose the ‘flexible’ option and be requested to de-load during either or both windows. Window hours may be extended if necessary, though participation is still purely voluntary as there are times that operations cannot drop load for whatever reasons they may have.
  • Determination of compensable kWh – Meralco will read consumption meters of participating accounts at the same time as the usual reading for billing and tag hours of ILP activation.
  • Billing – Meralco will compute the De-loading Compensation based on ERC-prescribed formula and send it to the participating customer for verification within seven days from the regular reading date.
  • Settlement – The signed conforme must be returned to Meralco within eight days from receipt. Meralco will then process the payment within 30 days.

How can you join the ILP?

If you want to join the ILP, get in touch with your Meralco Relationship Manager and advise the following:

  • Volunteer to de-load a certain amount of your demand
  • Choose a time slot (10 am – 1 pm only, 12 nn – 3 pm only, flexible)
  • Establish a baseline load profile
  • Designate three contact persons from your organization

Why should you participate in the ILP?

ILP is an opportunity for companies to be part of the solution to brownouts, giving back to the community that supports their businesses.

This will be especially helpful as the Luzon grid is expected to experience yellow alerts in the months of March, April, May, June, September, October and November according to DOE’s January 9, 2023 media briefing.

As of January 31, 2023, the total capacity for de-loading or the available electricity that can be freed up to power small households in Meralco’s area is 560.59MW, equivalent to an estimate of 2.2 million households. This is thanks to 117 companies representing 260 participating accounts.

Since ILP was implemented in 2014, as many as 1.8 million households have been spared from rotational brownouts.

Just imagine how much more Filipino households can be spared from rotating brownouts if more large load customers will join this bayanihan program.

To know more about ILP, watch this video: https://mer.ph/whatisilp

For other inquiries, contact your Relationship Manager or e-mail Meralco at enterprise@meralco.com.ph. – Rappler.com

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Meralco Enterprise

Meralco Enterprise serves the energy needs of customers with power requirements of 500kW and up.