The Department of Energy is anticipating an expected increase in power demand once the economy recovers and fully reopens next year with the help of a massive vaccination program.
“For the power sector, we continue to build the capacity… We are trying to prepare the power supply into a level where we will have normal operations already. And you know how it takes time before we build capacity,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.
Cusi said power demand was expected to surge when the economy returned to full capacity. “The energy family must be ready to meet that. That will be a big disservice to the country once the economy recovers again, and we lack supply,” the energy chief said.
“And I’ve always been saying, this pandemic, as far as energy supply is concerned, is both a problem and an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for us to do catch-up work in really boosting our supply,” Cusi said.
Peak power demand grew 5.3 percent in 2019 from a year ago. Mindanao registered the highest growth at 8.6 percent, followed by Visayas at 8.3 percent and Luzon at 4.2 percent.
Peak demand in 2019 reached 11,344 megawatts in Luzon, 2,224 MW in the Visayas and 2,013 MW in Mindanaofor a total of 15,581 MW.
Prior to the pandemic, peak demand in Luzon was expected to reach 12,285 MW, 2,419 MW in the Visayas and 2,278 MW in Mindanao totaling 16,692 MW this year.
Energy officials earlier said actual figures showed that peak demand this year was lower than in 2019.
Actual peak demand reached 11,103 MW for Luzon, 2,201 MW for Visayas and 1,977 MW for Mindanao for a total of 15,281 in 2020.
Mindanao posted the highest decline in peak demand at 13 percent, followed by Luzon at 10 percent and Visayas at 9 percent.
Meanwhile, Cusi said oil demand was also expected to grow next year as the Philippines already opened the transportation sector.
“We know that demand for oil dropped because our people were not able to move. Whether it will go back to the 2019 level, it’s very difficult to say,” he said.
Cusi said oil demand was expected to spike once the vaccination program was rolled out to contain the pandemic.
“But it may not go back immediately to the 2019 level. This is the reason also why petroleum players are looking closely on how will they be operating,” he said.
World oil prices plunged early this year because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine restrictions, resulting in billions of losses for the oil industry.