IEMOP: electricity prices seen to surge in May


The Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) warns the public that electricity prices are likely to surge from the beginning of summer until May.

In a briefing last Tuesday, IEMOP Assistant Manager Chris Warren Manalo said that the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, which was recorded at around Php 4.03 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the February billing, saw an increase of 35.8%, to Php 5.46 kWh in March.

The reason behind this increase was the forced and planned outages of a few power plants in Visayas and Luzon.

IEMOP also pointed out that the supply for the March billing stood at 18,900 megawatts (MW). However, the average demand across the country leaped from 12,372 MW in February to 13,185 MW in March.

Luzon demonstrated a 6.1% increase in demand as plants like the Ilijan units, Masinloc 1, Sta. Rita 4, Mariveles 1, and SLPGC 1 went into forced outages while Pagbilao 1, GN Dinginin 2, QPPL, Kalayaan 3, San Gabriel unit, and Magat units went into planned outages.

Meanwhile, for the Visayas, the demand reached 6.4%, with forced outages capacity at 400 MW and 150 MW for planned outages, as per the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP). Market Intervention in Visayas was also present due to the Panay blackout.

Mindanao exhibited an 8.4% demand, and with enough supply to answer to the demand, the excess capacity helped augment Luzon and Visayas supply by adding an extra supply of up to 450 MW.

IEMOP also mentioned that the forced and planned outages came from conventional generators such as natural gas, coal, hydroelectric plants, and geothermal with a total capacity of 2,724 MW.

The market operator added that forced outages from coal and natural gas plants came to 1,062 MW. Due to this, the standard price of electricity encountered a marked elevation of Php 5.46 from Php 4.03.

Additionally, the spot prices in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao skyrocketed to Php 5.26/kWh, Php 6.26/kWh, and Php 4.58/kWh, respectively.

In IEMOP’s forecast, electricity demand in Luzon in the approaching months may hit its summit of 13, 273 MW while peak demand for Visayas may reach 2,628 MW and for Mindanao, may peak at 2,650 MW.