by Lenie Lectura, January 22, 2015
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla could not stress enough how important it is for Congress to pass the joint resolution that will grant President Aquino special powers to address the projected power deficit in Luzon this summer.
He said—without hesitation—the feared power outages are imminent.
“Without the Congress and Senate [resolution], the Interruptible Load Program [ILP] will run on red alert rather than on yellow, which means brownout muna before ILP runs,” Petilla said in a text message on Thursday. A red alert means there is a supply deficiency and a brownout is sure to occur. The House of Representatives has already passed its version of a joint resolution, but the Senate has yet to pass its own.
For now, the ILP is still the government’s solution to address Luzon’s power woes. However, it is voluntary for now, until the joint resolution is passed.
Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, said in a recent hearing that the ILP should be implemented voluntarily. “The ILP works better when it’s not mandatory; when it’s voluntary.”
The ILP works by calling on business customers with loads of at least 1 megawatt (MW) to run their own generator sets, if needed, instead of drawing power from the grid.
With the ILP, power supply from the grid that will not be consumed by participating customers will be available for use by other customers within the franchise area. Through this, the aggregate demand for power from the system will be reduced to a more manageable level, helping ensure the availability of supply during the anticipated power crisis this year.
Based on latest ILP figures, the program is still not enough to cover for the projected power-supply gap. Still, the DOE continues to hold negotiations with prospective ILP participants. “We have 600 MW of ILP and we
simply have to maximize this,” Petilla said.
Latest data from the DOE states that Luzon needs 782 MW, of which 135 MW are needed to meet the required regulating reserve, and the 647 MW for the required contingency reserve.