DOE re-calculating power rate hike due to Malampaya shutdown


The Department of Energy (DOE) is re-calculating the cost impact of the Malampaya gas field’s preventive maintenance shutdown this October to also account for the effects of the rising peso-dollar exchange rate and of high oil prices in the world market.

Based on a Manila Bulletin report, Energy Usec. Emmanuel Juaneza also noted that the DOE is still crunching the numbers related to the tariff hikes resulting from the fuel shift of the country’s five gas plants to more expensive diesel or condensate.

The last Malampaya maintenance shutdown in 2017 cost customers of the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) Php1.75 billion.

Juaneza pointed out that this year’s scheduled shutdown would not be happening within a favorable timeframe, as global oil prices have been surging to over $70 per barrel, while the peso has been depreciating to the Php50 level against the greenback.

First Gen Corporation’s Avion, San Gabriel, San Lorenzo, and Sta. Rita plants are expected to shift to condensate, while KEPCO and SMC Global Power Holdings’ Ilijan facility is set to use diesel in the meantime.

For the 1,200-megawatt (MW) Ilijan plant in particular, Juaneza expounded that there could be limitations on the volume of fuel it can store. Thus, the DOE will also need to sort out alternatives in case its two generating blocks of the facility could not fully generate power at optimized capacity.

Juaneza had also said that authorities are hoping that the 668MW Unit 1 of Aboitiz Power Corporation’s GNPower Dinginin coal plant would be online when the shutdown happens. The said generator is expected to be fully operational by August 26.