Mall owners commit to Meralco program
Under the Interruptible Load Program, customers with large power loads will be asked to operate their own generator sets to augment capacity in the Luzon Grid

EASING SUPPLY IN LUZON. Meralco's ILP has generated interest among mall owners. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Mall owners have committed a total of 110 megawatts (MW) to the Manila Electric Company’s Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which is intended to help boost power capacity in the Luzon grid.

“As of now, the contracts are still being finalized but we have a commitment of 110 megawatts (MWs) from various mall owners,” said Alfredo Panlilio, Meralco senior vice president and head for customer retail services.

Panlilio said the biggest commitment comes from the Sy-led SM group which assured Meralco that it will deload about 56MW of its capacity under the ILP.

Other big establishments that have expressed willingness to work with Meralco’s ILP are Robinsons Land, 22MW; Ayala Land, 8MW; Shangri-La, 7MW; Waltermart 6MW; and Ortigas and Megaworld, 4MW each.

Under the ILP, customers with large power loads such as commercial establishments will be asked to operate their own generator sets if the grid operator foresees a need to augment generation capacity in the Luzon Grid. 

This will reduce the aggregate demand for power from the system to a more manageable level, and help ensure the availability of supply during the season.

With the ILP,  unexpended power supply from the Luzon grid by participating customers can be used by other customers within the franchise area.

Targeted ILP participants are those with large embedded generation capacities such as malls, large business establishments, and factories.

Meralco had invited more a hundred companies with large backup generating sets to participate in the ILP.   It conducted a successful dry-run on April 1 in cooperation with SM Malls, which resulted in a 4.4-MW reduction in load on the grid. 

Meralco, in its application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), proposed that only captive customers with large load, such as 1 MW and above, will be invited to participate in the ILP since it is no longer responsible for providing power supply to customers that have switched to retail electricity suppliers.

The ERC approved Meralco’s  request to implement the ILP within its franchise area during the summer months, provided that the prospective participating customers (PCs) should not be limited to those who own generating units.

“Any customer who is willing to deload should be qualified as a PC to the ILP whether replacement power shall be generated or not,” the ERC said in its 4-page order dated April 11.

The utility firm was also ordered to submit its agreements with its ILP customers within 15 days from receipt of the order.

For 2014, Meralco is projecting that the electricity demand will increase by about 4% from last year’s level.

The use of the ILP, which is being introduced in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE),  is contingent to the status of the grid and the choice of the distribution utility (DU). 

Based on established protocols, ILP is implemented during a red alert status or when there us minimal power reserve,  upon the notice of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the DUs informing ILP participants to deload from the grid.

The power situation in Luzon has improved at the start of April compared to March because of the early commissioning of Ilijan power plant, but the supply situation remains tight as Luzon registers its highest annual demand during the summer months. –

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