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PBBM admin assures public of sufficient power supply despite looming dry spell

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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s administration assured the public on Saturday that there is ample supply of electricity despite the looming dry spell which might affect the country’s hydroelectric plants.

“We have enough supply to meet the demand. What is lacking is the reserve,” said Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella in a media forum in Quezon City.

“Iyong reserves po kasi covered iyan ng ancillary services. So, iyon po iyong minsan, sabihin noong isa, hindi kami pinayagan ng regulator, mga ganyan. But at the end thing, they have to, we have to contract the reserve requirement, kung ano po iyong obligasyon natin.”

Fuentebella noted that based on the Department of Energy (DOE) forecast, they are seeing a thinning electricity reserve, which means the country already hit the necessary demand but must secure an additional 4 percent reserve on the demand plus the regulating reserve requirement.

The DOE official said they usually monitor the Luzon condition, especially its power supply and demand because the region’s hydropower plants usually conduct preventive maintenance that could affect energy supply.

“Parati po nating binabantayan dito sa Luzon, lalo na kapag mainit iyong panahon, tinatawag nating second quarter iyon – so first quarter, January, February, March – pagdating ng April, May at saka June; bakit natin binabantayan iyon? Sabi nga po, mayroon tayong kakulangan sa tubig,” Fuentabella pointed out.

“So, iyong hydropower plants natin kadalasan nagpi-preventive maintenance so nababawasan iyong mga plantang umaandar.”

To avoid power interruption, Fuentebella said the DOE plans to carry out several measures aimed at ensuring energy efficiency with the participation of various sectors.

One of the measures is avoiding energy wastage such as efficient use of cooling system during the summer, he said.

“What we are saying is do not be wasteful in the use of energy. So just like here, we use cooling, and then sa movement ng hangin, ang ginagamit ay electric fan. This is a perfect example of energy efficiency,” he added.

Another measure is wisely choosing and using energy efficient gadgets and appliances to cut energy consumption.

But in case the country’s energy situation worsens, with the reserve hitting the “red area,” Fuentebella said the agency will adopt the interruptible load program.

“Kaya nito na magbawas ng demand ng 300 to 500 megawatts. Papaano ginagawa? Iyong ibang mga mall natin, ⁴sinasabihan halimbawa si Meralco o iyong distribution utilities, ‘Huwag na po ninyo kaming bigyan ng kuryente, kasi mayroon kaming genset,’ at mayroong polisiya na binabayaran din siya ng mga tao through a decision or a resolution by the Energy Regulatory Commission,” he said.

And to ensure energy efficiency in the public sector, the DOE official said there is an Inter-Agency Energy Efficiency and Conservation Committee advising government offices to consider flexible working hours.

For instance in the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), personnel who are doing field work are advised not to report back to their offices as a way of cutting back on energy or fuel use.

Fuentebella said they are carrying out a four-day work week office schedule.

“Tinitingnan natin kung ano iyong pinaka-energy efficient na diskarte ng isang opisina at tama nga, more than 50 percent iyong natipid ng office sa kuryente at iyong mga empleyado nakaka-save ng around 20 percent sa gasoline expenses kung sila ang nagda-drive papunta sa kanilang opisina. So iyan iyong isa pa sa mga tinitingnan ng Department of Energy,” he said.

Experts have issued warning of a looming El Nino phenomenon that may affect the country in the next few months this year until early next year. | PND

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