DOE, NGCP assure no brownouts on May 9

by Jovee Marie de la CruzApril 27, 2016

from Business Mirror

THERE will be no brownouts on May 9, election day, as there is enough power supply for the whole country, according to the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

During a House Committee on Energy hearing, Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada also assured solons and the public there will be no brownouts during the whole election week.

“We are confident there will be no forced outages that may affect the power transmission on election day. We have sufficient and reliable power supply,” she said.

The DOE has created a Power Task Force Election to ensure sufficient power supply during the election period. Electricity is needed for the vote-counting machines to function efficiently.

“I assure you that with the help of everybody, the energy family, and the task force, there will be no failure of elections because of power deficiency,” Monsada said.

For her part, NGCP Spokesman Cynthia Alabanza said the power reserves in Luzon (2,200 megawatts [MW]), in the Visayas  (190 MW) and in Mindanao (373 MW) are enough to ensure the stability of supply on May 9.

In case there is a power interruption, Jerome Matas from the Office of Commission on Elections
(Comelec) Chairman said the VCMs are equipped with batteries that will last up to 14 hours.

However, Comelec’s Mark Anthony Amurao asked the power distributors to focus on canvassing centers, as the battery-operated laptops that would be used for canvassing could only last up to four hours.

Meanwhile, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) Vice President Ferdinand Geluz said its transmission lines are 96-percent ready, saying it will be 100-percent prepared on April 30. 

Earlier, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. asked Meralco to assure the public and the government that there will be no brownouts on election day.

“I hope that if unavoidable, Meralco will schedule the shutdown in such a way as not to affect the electoral process, particularly the casting of votes, counting of ballots and electronic transmittal of results,” Belmonte said. 

House Committee on Energy Chairman and Liberal Party Rep. Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro also assured the public there will be no power outages on election day.

“We’re not anticipating any brownout during election period according to the Department of Energy. But I’m asking them to give us more updates on power supply,” Umali said. 

“This is important, to keep everyone onboard, to keep the public well-informed,” Umali added.

Meanwhile, to guarantee uninterrupted power supply in voting precincts throughout Luzon, Deputy Minority Leader and Party-List Rep. Arnel Ty of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association has asked malls and other big consumers of electricity to power up their backup generators on May 9.

Ty said the DOE should ask large users to self-generate their electricity needs or implement the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) and stay off the grid on election day.

Under the ILP, Meralco or the NGCP may ask participating establishments to disconnect from the grid and run their emergency generators once power supply falls short of demand. 

The ILP helps provide other consumers—those without any self-generating capacity—adequate electricity despite supply deficiencies.