Petilla: Even with ILP, brownouts to persist in summer 2015
Energy chief Carlos Jericho Petilla says that even if the Interruptible Load Program is in place, brownouts are likely to occur, but ‘not severe’

MANILA, Philippines – The power crisis is still looming, as the government cannot guarantee yet a “brownout-free” summer 2015 despite full implementation of the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

“If we run on ILP … there will [still] be brownouts but [they] will not be severe,” Department of Energy (DOE)  secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said over the weekend.

By “not severe,” Petilla meant at least an hour of power outage.

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) proposed the ILP, a scheme where energy users like business establishments and factories will be required to run their standby generator sets to ease the demand for power from the grid during peak hours.

With the ILP, power supply from the grid that will not be consumed by participating customers will be available for use by other customers within the franchise area.

Petilla said if there is a red alert, ILP participants would be called on to turn on their generator sets to provide at least 300 megawatts (MW). But it would take Meralco an hour to restore power thus a transition brownout would occur.

A red alert means there is supply deficiency. A yellow alert means there is a “thin” power reserve.

The price impact of a yellow alert scenario would be higher than during a red alert, Petilla warned.

More ILP participants are needed during yellow alert because “they are on standby and in effect participating in the program even if supply, albeit thin, is still efficient,” Petilla said.

The government, at least for the House of Representatives, is willing to pay for the difference.

“The proposal of the House is for the ILPs to be there but the government will pay for the difference so you can run it on yellow alert and not have a massive price impact,” Petilla said.

Meralco said on October 9 that an additional P0.075 ($0.0017*) per kilowatt hour (kWh) may reflect in consumers’ monthly generation charge – the biggest bulk of your electricity bill – as the utility firm needs to compensate its ILP participants.

To date, Meralco has signed up a total of 149.5 MW of committed interruptible load capacity from various ILP participants.

The current ILP commitments have reached up to 435 MW. This can account for only 7% of Meralco’s peak demand of 5,500 MW, thus Senator Sergio Osmeña III challenged Meralco to get at least 10% or 550 MW of capacity.

ILP is still seen as a viable solution to help solve the power supply deficiency anticipated in the summer months of 2015 after the Senate, during a Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting, told Petilla that Congress is not keen on authorizing President Benigno Aquino III the special powers he seeks. (READ: Belmonte: Aquino to have emergency powers before 2014 ends)

The Luzon grid is anticipated to be in need of 900 MW next year, higher than the previous estimate of 800 MW, owing to the delay of the 150 MW coal power plant expansion project of DMCI Holdings. –

*($1 = P44.91)

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