Gatchalian: DOE must prepare energy contingency plans for El Niño

Senator Win Gatchalian has urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to prepare contingency plans to guarantee adequate electricity supply as warmer weather persists due to the El Niño phenomenon’s impact.

“El Niño is going to be a big concern for our country not just in terms of food security but also energy security. A big chunk of our hydro areas will be experiencing drought, and their output will be curtailed which will have an impact on some parts of the country, so we need to have a contingency plan for that, especially during the hot months,” Gatchalian said. 

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the peak of El Niño in the country is seen during the summer months.

To mitigate the effects of drier weather, Gatchalian insisted that the DOE should prioritize repairs and preventive maintenance before the summer peak to avoid unexpected outages. 

Gatchalian highlighted that in 2022, approximately 9% of the nation’s power capacity stemmed from hydroelectric power plants, further emphasizing the need for the DOE to spearhead efforts to prevent unscheduled power outages in the coming months.

Gatchalian also said that power plants face heightened risks of breakdowns during summer due to increased demand. He also stressed that all preventive maintenance should be completed now so that energy plants will operate at full capacity once the summer season arrives and urged that the DOE monitor the situation.