No blackouts for early summer – Energy chief

by Madelaine B. Miraflor, 26 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

The country will not yet experience the much anticipated power outages in April, as the energy supply remains enough to cater to the demand projected in the next four weeks.

“So far, we have a lot of supply, why? No plants are going on a forced outage. We are expecting as much as 800 megawatts of power capacity going offline but we only saw less than a hundred megawatts, which is extremely abnormal because even in January, forced outages reached a combined capacity of 1,200 megawatts,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said in a chance interview with reporters on Thursday night.

He said the demand is low because of the rain and the weather is still relatively cold, especially in the morning, even during this month,” he added.

Petilla said he is “confident that the country will survive” this season without much power interruption, in contrast with the earlier forecast wherein the country might have to suffer from rotating brownouts that will last for hours.

“In the sense, if we keep the demand on that level, I think we will be ok this summer,” he added.

However, he still noted that if the warm weather starts to soar high after holy week and the demand would spike anew, the chance that plants will go on a forced outage will also be very high.

Earlier this month, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has called on the energy department to establish a monitoring system that would guarantee that participants to the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) will abide by their obligations under the ILP which seeks to head off an energy crisis during the summer months.

ILP is a demand-side management/system relief scheme of the DOE that encourages customers with large electricity consumption, like malls and corporations, to run their own generating sets (gensets) whenever supply of electricity falls short of projected demand.

In this scheme, enlisted customers are asked to isolate themselves from the grid to re-direct electricity to other areas in the Distribution Utilities franchise to ensure continuous supply of power.