CNN Philippines : DOE projects ample power supply for 2022 elections

News & Interviews
17 August 2021

By Melissa Luz Lopez | CNN Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 17) – No rotating brownouts are expected so far in 2022, especially during the May 9 polls, even if power reserves may be thin, the Department of Energy said Tuesday.

In a media briefing, Energy Spokesperson Wimpy Fuentebella said latest projections show there won't be any yellow or red alerts in the Luzon grid next year, meaning no widespread power outages are expected.

"There is a thinning of reserves, not supply, for the election day and thereafter… The task of the Energy family is to maintain or improve this scenario," Fuentebella told reporters.

However, he clarified this outlook can still change if some power plants suddenly go offline or reduce production, which triggered power interruptions back in June.

"May mga political scenarios ba na tinitingnan dito? Wala po [Are we looking at any political scenarios here? No, there's none]," the DOE official added.

The department is headed by Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who leads one faction of President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban political party.

"The reason why there is thinning of reserves as far as the April, May and June (period) is concerned, especially weeks 19-23, is because of higher demand and lack of water for the hydro plants," Fuentebella said.

Households and establishments consume more power during summer due to the hotter weather.

Power distributor Meralco also noted that it is ready to respond should there be brownouts on voting day up until the canvassing of ballots.

"Historically, we have had no major problems during election period. In fact, we have contingency measures in place in case there will be outages," Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said, pointing out standby crew members and mobile power generator sets are on hand for emergencies.

"In case of isolated interruptions, then we will be ready to respond accordingly," he added.

For now, the DOE said it is counting on the start of commercial operations of the 668-megawatt (MW) Dinginin coal-fired plant next month to boost electricity supply.

A second unit of the new Bataan facility is also expected to come online after the elections, Fuentebella added.

The agency said it is coordinating with power plant operators so they can schedule maintenance activities before or after the April-June period of peak power demand.

Fuentebella said other power plants are also seeking endorsements from the agency for backup or ancillary services.

Peak demand at the Luzon grid is projected at 12,387 MW in 2022, higher than the 11,841 MW peak forecast during this year's summer season.Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 17) - No rotating brownouts are expected so far in 2022, especially during the May 9 polls, even if power reserves may be thin, the Department of Energy said Tuesday.