By MYRNA M. VELASCO – Updated March 2, 2020, 11:23 AM
from Manila Bulletin
As electricity supply in the country’s major power grid is already flat lining, the Department of Energy (DOE) turns to the business sector by threatening them with penalties if they will not switch on their own generating facilities as mandated under the interruptible load program (ILP) that is underpinned by a government policy.
With the anticipated tight supply during the summer months, the energy department indicated that it would already enforce the ILP as a “mandatory policy” so that available capacity in the grid could be shored up.
A DOE proposed circular presented to relevant stakeholders on Wednesday (February 26) has stipulated that “during tight reserve conditions, ILP orders may be issued for compliance.”
That propounded policy is part of the demand side management (DSM) enforcement of the department.
The DOE emphasized that violations, or if the businesses and other entities with generating sets will not utilize their facilities when they are called under the ILP program, they will be penalized up to ₱1.0 million.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Chairman George T. Barcelon questioned why businesses should be punished with such penalties, when the problem is power supply which should have been the very mandate of the DOE to ensure.
Basically, businesses procure or install their own generating facilities so that they can be assured that their electricity service will not be interrupted even if supply in the main power grids turn critical – but they often come with higher costs to run them.
Dilemmas, such as possible fuel run-out or delays in the deliveries of fuel for these gensets because of the coronavirus scare in some countries, had also been raised by the business sector amid the menacing penalties that the DOE would want to impose upon them.
According to the DOE, it will be its Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) that will be declaring “tight reserve condition” – and ILP program violations “will be subject to the fines and penalties under Section 30 of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act or Republic Act 11285.
Offenses that shall be meted with penalties cover non-registration of generators of the targeted ILP participants; as well as those in the solar net metering program.
The DOE emphasized that as part of compliance to the EEC Act, it will require the “registration of the energy intensive users on their generators, solar net metering if they have not done so.”
The department further noted that “energy intensive users with generators, solar net metering will be mandated to register as ILP participant.”
Additionally, it stressed that “transmission, distribution and retail electricity suppliers (are) mandated to execute ILP arrangements with energy intensive users.