BAGUIO CITY – Some P500 million is readily available to help the government mitigate the effects of power shortage that would result to the implementation of rotational brownouts in the Luzon grid during the summer months, Energy Secretary Carlos Jerico Petilla said here Monday.
Petilla said once both the Senate and the House will pass the joint resolution granting limited emergency powers to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, the fund will be specifically used for the interruptible load program (ILP) which was agreed to be the strategy to help mitigate the effects of power shortage during the summer months.
“We will only use the funds when there will be occurrences of power outages. We want to make use of all possible means to mitigate and avert the serious negative effects of the projected blackouts,” Secretary Petilla stressed.
Under the ILP, big loaders are required to temporarily cut off their connections to the grid and use their own power generators to produce their own power with the government required to pay to the big loaders the fuel cost for the use of their generators.
He said the duration of the emergency powers will only be from March 1 to July 31 this year but it could possibly be extended for a few months depending on the gravity of the shortage of power in the grid.
Secretary Petilla explained the consumption of power during the summer months is expected to significantly increase considering the expected use of air conditioning units in order for people to weather the extreme heat.
Initially, the energy official said he already issued directives to government offices to use their air conditioning units to a minimum of 25 degrees Celsius instead of the usual 21 degrees Celsius in order to contribute in lessening the possibility of a power shortage that would subsequently result to unscheduled and rotating power outages.
Secretary Petilla admitted the fund earmarked by the government to address the power shortage may not be enough but bulk of the funds is expected to be used up during the height of the summer months and it would slowly decrease during the onslaught of the rainy season which would allow the full operation of hydro power plants, one of the major sources of renewable energy.
He cited the interruptible load program has been identified as one of the mitigating measures in order to reduce the impact of the power outages that are expected to occur when the demand exceeds the available power supply in the grid during the summer months.
During the summer months, the power demand in the Luzon grid could go as high as 11,000 megawatts which is much higher than the projected available supply of around 10,500 to 10,900 megawatts which will open the possibility of the implementation of rotating power outages in most parts of the areas of coverage of the Luzon grid.
Secretary Petilla called on big loaders, especially giant chains of malls among others, to abide by their commitment to implement the ILP from March 1 to July 31 in order to negate the occurrence of power outages which would be detrimental to the gains of the country’s economic growth during the summer months.