By Myrna M. Velasco – April 11, 2020, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin
Energy demand across the country considerably dropped due to the closure of commercial establishments and industries following the declaration of national health emergency that enforced enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, the nation’s economic engine, and subsequent similar lockdowns in Visayas and Mindanao as government raced to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE) demand in the inter¬connected Luzon and Visayas grids had dropped by 30-percent because of the ongoing quarantine which had virtually shut down economic activities in the country’s two major islands.
Mindanao grid was in a parallel fate following the enforcement of quarantines in various cities and provinces in the island, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.
“The enhanced community quarantine resulted in a reduction in electricity demand by around 30-percent as compared with the same period last year,” the energy department said, emphasizing that such entails that “most of the economic activities have slowed down.”
For Luzon grid, which is the economic center of the Philippines, peak demand hovers at more than 12,000 up to 14,000 megawatts during summer months; hence the 30-percent decline could redound to equivalent demand drop of 3,600 to 4,200 megawatts.
In the Visayas, the DOE noted that its average weekly demand had been lowered to 1,772MW com-pared to the heftier demand base of 1,870MW for the same month of March last year.
At Mindanao grid, within the period from March 1-28 this year, the energy department’s field office in the region stated that it observed “a reduction in the region’s system demand and generation.’
The DOE emphasized that substantial downtrend in demand began on the third week of March, “which was when key areas in Mindanao started implementing lockdowns and community quarantines.”
And on the fourth week of last month, DOE data had shown that average reduction in demand hovered at 165 megawatts or about 9.5-percent. If calculated in terms of daily average energy consumption, the DOE said that will be an equivalent reduction of 1,492 megawatt-hours or 4.4-percent energy usage drop.
If gauged on system demand, the department noted that on March 29, that slumped to 1,489 megawatts; which is considered as this year’s second lowest level – following a deep plunge to 1,465MW in January this year.
The DOE said there is enough power supply across electricity grids in the country, but it said it is still on high alert to ensure that other disruptions – including logistical gridlocks – will not cause undue hassle to consumers especially during the “stay at home” mandate being enforced by government.
“While there is enough supply capacity, the DOE is also actively collaborating with concerned national government agencies and local government units to ensure the unhampered delivery of energy products and services,” the agency said.