May 27, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Energy panel probes Luzon, Visayas power woes

THE House Committee on Energy chaired by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday began deliberations on House Resolutions (HRs) 1685 and 1690 to address the frequent power issues in the Luzon and Visayas grids. 

Velasco expressed hope that the hearing would shed light on the matter and eventually contribute to stabilizing the electricity supply. He also highlighted the committee’s commitment to working with the energy sector to alleviate people’s burdens, especially the rising electricity rates. 

PHILRECA party-list Rep. Presley De Jesus said that he filed HR 1685 to examine the increase in generation and transmission charges following the red and yellow alerts, including the outages of 42 power plants. 

HR 1685 co-author APEC Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc noted that these alerts are already an annual occurrence and stressed the urgency of amending power industry laws due to a perceived gap between the country’s electrical needs and existing regulations. 

Meanwhile, HR 1690, filed by Makabayan Bloc Reps. France Castro, Arlene Brosas and Raoul Danniel Manuel, aims to hold power companies accountable for frequent alerts and the shutdowns of nearly 50 power plants.

Explaining the frequent alert notices, former lawmaker and now Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Sharon Garin reported a 0.92 correlation ratio between peak demand and the heat index in Luzon, noting that both trends closely align. 

Garin said peak demand usually occurs in mid-May, but this year, the agency noticed an early high that prompted alerts. 

“Please note that the alert notices do not mean that there will be actual power interruptions during the identified period. Instead, it is a warning of a possibility of power interruptions in case power generating plants with capacity equivalent to the largest unit, and the second largest operating unit will eventually go on unplanned or forced outage,” she explained. 

Garin also emphasized the necessity for an alternative power source following the moratorium on coal. Additionally, she cited the need to replace outdated power plants not only for capacity expansion but also to enhance efficiency.

The DOE also presented the roadmap, as well as short-, medium- and long-term plans, to further improve and increase the country’s electricity supply.

Atty. Primabelle Gobantes, Energy Regulatory Commission’s Senior Energy Regulation Officer,  confirmed Garin’s observation that this year’s high heat index resulted to higher electricity demand, affecting the power system and reducing the supply reserve.

Other energy sectors and stakeholders also outlined the operational state of power plants in off-grid areas which provided context for the main grid’s challenges.