30 firms commit to gov’t power program for 2015
MANILA, Philippines–Thirty business groups have signed up to participate in the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which is meant to ease power demand in Luzon during the expected power shortage in the summer of 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) reported on Tuesday.
Citing data from Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the DOE said there were 30 establishments that signed up under the ILP with a combined capacity of 171.96 MW. Among them were SM Prime Holdings Inc. (87.96 MW), Robinsons Land Corp. (23.15 MW) and the Waltermart Malls (14.3 MW).
“We only count the companies that actually sign up because we want to make sure they will actually run their gensets when we need them to ease peak demand or when there is an emergency,” Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said in an interview. “In every meeting, we make sure they understand that this is not just for them to qualify for compensation but this is also for the good of their community and the general public.”
Working together, the DOE and Meralco have been scouring for ILP participants since mid-2014, noting that economic activity and jobs depended on the continued supply of power in Luzon.
Asked for comment, Meralco’s head of utility economics Lawrence Fernandez said that the country’s top power retailer served 30 industrial estates in its franchise area, which covers Metro Manila and nearby provinces. About 60 percent of manufacturing activity in the Philippines comes from its customers. Overall, half of the Philippines’ gross domestic production (a measure of economic growth) comes from Meralco’s franchise. Metro Manila alone contributes 36 percent of domestic GDP.
While the ILP alone was not enough to guarantee “zero brownouts,” Petilla said the DOE was still encouraging the participation of at least 32 more establishments with a combined capacity of 61.53 MW for them to be part of the ILP participants’ list.
Though the DOE is seeking more ILP participants, the program will only be part of the answer to the looming power shortage next summer.
Legislators are also pushing for information campaigns to encourage energy savings among consumers. The joint resolution granting President Aquino emergency powers to deal with the power crisis also encourages faster processing of power plant developments, according to House of Representatives energy committee chair Reynaldo V. Umali.
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