Energy department sees improving power supply

The country’s thin power supply that has resulted in rotational brownouts will improve now that stakeholders have committed to cooperate, the Department of Energy said.

“All stakeholders have committed to comply,” Energy Usec. Felix Fuentebella said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

The thin power supply in the past weeks, Fuentebella said, could have been addressed if ancillary reserve was robust during peak hours.

“Unfortunately, some of our policies were not followed,” he added. 

Earlier, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told Congress the government should be allowed to generate electricity from a nuclear power plant to augment the country’s supply of power. 

Testifying before the Senate committee on energy, Cusi also asked for the authority to sanction power industry stakeholders. 

“[W]e… would like to ask this honorable committee under the leadership of its chairman, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian to, among others, look into the following: allowing government to engage in limited power generation, not to compete with private companies but rather to augment the energy supply requirements when needed,” Cusi said. 

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), which paved the way for the privatization of the power generation and transmission sectors, prevents the government from engaging in power generation.

But Cusi said government power plants are best for the reserve capacity of the grid as they will be outside the competition in the electricity market.

Cusi said such power plants can be from nuclear energy “subject to technical and safety factors.”

“Nuclear energy is being used by other countries in Asia and given the advances in technology the risks involved can now be better managed,” he said.

He also urged the Senate to grant DOE the authority to sanction power industry players.

“Allowing the DOE authority to issue measures to protect the consuming public during a state of emergency, such as, moratoriums on disconnection, grace period on payments, [and] allowing installment payments,” Cusi said.

Cusi said the brownouts on May 31 and June 1 were due to the forced outage of power plants with a capacity around 2,000 MW each day.

“The ultimate cause of the rotational brownouts was the fact that several big power plants went on forced or unplanned outages...That is the ultimate cause,” he said.

Topics: power supply , rotational brownouts , Department of Energy , Felix Fuentebella
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