Power demand falls 30% amid Luzon community quarantine as economy slows

By Manila Standard – March 19, 2020 at 9:10 PM

The enhanced community quarantine in Luzon reduced electricity demand by around 30 percent from the same period last year, based on the Energy Department’s monitoring.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said this meant most of the economic activities slowed down during the period.   He also noted delays in on-going construction and other activities in the energy sector.

“We received reports that some of the foreign contractors and workers are not able to travel. There are also issues on the late delivery of imported equipment and parts needed for energy facilities, generation, distribution projects, because of the slowdown in global production,” Cusi said.

He said this could result in delayed completion of on-going projects and repairs and further hinder energy-related investments.

“While these may cause more problems in our energy reliability and capacity in the long run, the DOE will continue to advise the public on effective ways that provide the necessary energy solutions for the benefit of all consumers and stakeholders,” the energy chief said.

Cusi said the primordial concern right now was to defeat the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis.

“The DOE and the entire energy family is one in cooperating with the whole government. We are committed to fully coordinate and provide 24/7 energy services that bring comfort to every home and all the institutions working to ensure our victory,” Cusi said.

He said to ensure the unimpeded delivery of energy services during 30-day quarantine imposed in Luzon, the department’s Energy Resource Development Bureau promptly addressed the operational concerns of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.-Malampaya Deep Water Gas Field, or Service Contract No. 38.

“We call on for the full support of various government agencies, as well as all our service contractors, as we fulfill our mandate to provide reliable power services to our people. The DOE is always open and ready to address all the concerns of our stakeholders,” Cusi said.

Operating since 2001, the Malampaya is a deep-water gas-to-power project that uses indigenous resources of natural gas which delivers 20 percent of the Philippines’ electricity requirement.

Among the concerns raised by SPEX were the possible access restriction of critical operational and engineering staff and contractors, including vehicles used for transport purposes in NCR; continuation of the operations of the Batangas Supply Base in Batangas Port; continuation of the operations of marine supply vessels and other support vessels that berth in Palawan and Batangas; and the need for unhindered crew change cycles of offshore personnel operating the Malampaya platform.

Cusi issued a memorandum on the unimpeded delivery of energy services, which was disseminated to all energy industry stakeholders for their guidance in establishing the necessary measures to effectively address concerns on the continuity of their respective operations.

The department also called on concerned local government units to exempt the delivery of goods and the movement of SPEX’s personnel from the lockdown.