House of Representatives – Committee on Energy’s Briefing on the Power Supply and Demand Situation and the Cause of the Recent Rotational Brownouts
The manual load dropping and rotational brownouts that happened during the last few days have affected residential, commercial, and industrial customers because there is no enough time for the people to prepare given the very short notice provided to us. Our member-electric cooperatives, being the sector closely in contact with the consumers, have received dozens of grievances and complaints from our member-consumer-owners. This is understandable, but we have been trying to explain that the real scenario is that electric cooperatives only distribute the available supply.
It is indeed very unfortunate that despite available data, the unforgettable experiences that we encounter year in and year out, still, when this season comes, we again experience rotational brownouts.
We are all aware that electricity demand varies throughout the year. But in the summer season especially from April to August, the consumption increases and in fact, it is at its highest compared with other periods. This – being seasonal, and a cycle – is something that we at the distribution sector are preparing as early as the start of the year. Our preparation actually is a year-round effort.
All electric cooperatives nationwide regularly perform IEC or information education communication campaigns to let our consumers know of this scenario and what we can do about it. We do this online, on social media pages, and even offline, by informing our member-consumer-owners thru town hall meetings or vehicles going around our service areas announcing the same.
But in as far as ensuring the supply and stability of energy is concerned, we at the distribution sector can only do so much. Some of our member-ECs have ventured into renewable energy projects, but sadly, their capacity is not yet enough to cover the huge decline in reserves brought about by the shutdowns or maintenance – extended, scheduled, or not – and derated capacity of older plants.
Tons of historical data on this concern are available for our regulators and we hope that we would be able to avoid these outages already in the future… long before they even become a possibility. From our end, rest assured that we will do what we can to address these concerns, to the best of our capabilities.
We respectfully submit and request the following:
One, we hope that in the case of NGCP, whenever they need to make an announcement or advisory on outages similar to the topic of this inquiry, they would include a brief statement that in the outage that they are announcing, the distribution utilities or electric cooperative have no control over it, i.e., this kind of outages are beyond the control of the DUs or ECs.
Two, we call on our regulatory agencies to simplify the process of CSP or competitive selection process. We hope that the DOE and NEA would act immediately on CSPs and specially, approval of TOR. And along this line, we hope that the Secretary of the Department of Energy rejects the proposal of having DOE as a member of the TPBAC – this is very counterproductive at the very list.
And three, we hope that the ERC would really beef up its capacity and manpower in order to fast track the approval of PSA and CAPEX applications of electric cooperatives.
These requests would allow us to fast track the operations of new power plants or improve the capacity of our existing infrastructure, leading to a stable and more supply of electricity and address increasing demand.