by Riza Olchondra, 02 February 2015
from Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–The Voluntary program meant to ease grid demand this summer and prevent brownouts may spare 500,000 customers from experiencing power outages, according to the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).
Based on data released a week after the dry run, the participants of the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) delivered less than two-thirds of the committed capacity during testing.
On Feb. 18, Meralco, which is leading the ILP implementation, tested the program mechanics on volunteers comprising 322 commercial and industrial accounts.
The Luzon accounts, both within Meralco and outside its franchise area, had a total committed capacity of 617.2 megawatts (MW).
“Total deloaded capacity that will be compensated is 424 megawatt-hours (MWh) where it would have spared half a million customers from MLD (manual load dropping) or brownouts,” according to a text message sent by Al Panlilio, Meralco SVP and head of customer retail services.
The dry run was conducted in four time blocks last Feb 18: From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., 11 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The participants were told to turn on their generation sets and stop using power from the Luzon grid, based on their preferred time block.
However, there were some big power consumers who wanted to participate in the ILP, particularly in the dry run, but were not able to.
Meralco’s head for utility economics Lawrence Fernandez said only companies that have formalized their ILP commitment by signing agreements with Meralco and designating point persons for the program were included in the dry run.
“This was the first time we had a dry run for all (ILP) participating customers,” Fernandez said.
Meralco had a smaller scale dry run for individual customers last year, with three SM malls and one Robinson’s mall participating.
The Department of Energy earlier raised the alarm on possible two-hour rotating brownouts as early as March due to tight power supply. There could be a lack of power reserves estimated at 700 MW. In response, the agency urged businesses and households alike to be extra mindful of their power usage, particularly in the period between April 5 and 15.