Dec 182014

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, is targeting to draw in up to 800 megawatts of capacity from the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) by January 2015 to plug the supply gap next summer, its top official said yesterday.

“We’re targeting to sign up to 800 MW of ILP capacities from our franchise area by Jan. 31,” said Meralco president Oscar Reyes in a briefing yesterday.

The power distributor said it is optimistic on next year’s business environment despite the summer shortage, projecting a 3.5 percent increase in sales volume.

Meralco has signed total captive capacity of 263.45 MW from the ILP, which will come from 38 companies with 197.55 MW and potential sign-ups of 65.90 MW from more companies, according to latest data from the power distributor.

In all, including those outside the franchise area of Meralco, the Department of Energy (DOE) is targeting to come up with 1,000 MW for the summer of 2015.

Under the ILP, big power users will be asked to run their own generators when supply is short in the summer months, instead of getting their power from the Luzon grid. In exchange, they will be compensated for their fuel costs.

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The electricity that would not be taken from the grid would be available to households and other users, sparing them from rotating blackouts.

The ILP is the option Congress is eyeing to avert next year’s looming power shortage instead of the DOE’s proposal to lease or purchase generator sets.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla is optimistic that the ILP would solve the problem.

There is a projected power shortage in the Luzon grid of at least 700 MW next summer due to higher demand during the hot months.

President Aquino has asked Congress for special powers to invoke Section 71 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to tap additional power capacity for the summer months through the lease or purchase of generators.

But Congress has yet to pass the joint resolution that would provide President Aquino special powers to tap additional capacity for next summer.

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