WESM commercial ops in Mindanao set Jan. 26

By Lenie Lectura -September 6, 2019
from Business Mirror

THE commercial implementation of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao is scheduled on January 26, 2020, according to Jose Mari Bigornia, president of the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (Iemop), operator of WESM.

WESM in Mindanao was supposed to be implemented last year. The Department of Energy (DOE) launched WESM in Mindanao in June 2017 although it never became fully operational.

“It’s mostly the level of acceptance in Mindanao that prices will increase,” Bigornia said.

Some electric cooperatives and power generation firms are not in favor of establishing a spot market in Mindanao, which used to suffer from rotating brownouts due to generation deficiency, he said. This has changed, however, and many power generation companies heeded the call to put up new power plants. However, years later, this resulted in an over supply, thus, prompting the extension of WESM operations to Mindanao.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi had said that WESM in Mindanao will enable a transparent and fair mechanism to bring in more competition, more investors and a sustainable business climate that will eventually redound to empowering consumers from Mindanao of their power of choice.

Bigornia assured the public that as operator of the WESM, Iemop will be a liable service provider, ever ready to meet the needs and exceed expectations of stakeholders.

The WESM is the country’s trading floor for electricity. It is a centralized venue for buyers and sellers to trade electricity as a commodity, where prices are based on actual use (demand) and availability (supply).

WESM started commercial operations in the Luzon grid in June 2006 and in December of 2010 in the Visayas grid.

Bigornia said Iemop has made all the necessary preparations to make WESM in Mindanao successful.  “On our side, we are ready. In fact, [we are now] into operations. We’re seamless,” he added.

Iemop held a Market Participants Update (MPU) in April, its first since assuming WESM operations from Philippine Electricity Market Corp. in September last year.

The MPU is a stakeholders’ meeting meant to apprise participants on market outcome, system performance and recent developments, as well as to create discourse on relevant policy and operational issues and concerns pervading the WESM.

The MPU takes Iemop once step closer in implementing WESM in Mindanao. “MPU is highlighting the implementation of WESM in Mindanao to enable more participants to reap the benefits of a robust and competitive electricity market,” said Iemop.

Iemop said stakeholder dialogue and effective feedback mechanisms helped promote market development and enhance customer experience.

The WESM operator also conducted trial operations as part of the preparations, which include a software audit of the new market system.