DOE sets another public consultation

On Mindanao-WESM

by Myrna Velasco – February 10, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) is reportedly scheduling another round of public consultation for the planned Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao, a permanent replacement of the defunct Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM).

The operation of the grid’s interim power spot market had been short-lived, following its launch three years ago – because it had been beset with problems including non-settlement of dues by procuring electric cooperatives.

This time, it was indicated that the DOE is trying to be more circumspect in addressing first the issues of the proposed establishment of WESM in Mindanao so the dilemmas of the past would not recur.

According to Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) president Melinda L. Ocampo, they have also been batting for a clearer policy direction from the DOE on the envisioned fully functional electricity spot market for Mindanao.

“We had a long discussion with the DOE last week as we also would like to know the policy direction,” she stressed.

It was gathered from key stakeholders in Mindanao though that until now, off-taker utilities – primarily the electric cooperatives – still owe the trader-power generators in the IMEM more than P80 million of outstanding obligations.

The ECs previously indicated that they are not inclined to pay the amounts billed to them as they intend to legally challenge the IMEM’s setting up as not aligned with the provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

The IMEM was intended to test the viability of a spot market in Mindanao. Unfortunately, it did not thrive and its operations just lasted from December, 2013 to February, 2014.

Some stakeholders in Mindanao though are now batting for the establishment of a permanent WESM – especially the renewable energy (RE) developers so they can have alternative dispatch route and market for their capacities.

Policy framer agency like the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has also been wishing for a wider integration of the envisaged Mindanao-WESM via linkage with the spot markets of Luzon and Visayas grids.

Such, it noted, can be realized with the proposed interconnection of the power grids through the Visayas-Mindanao transmission link-up project.