Think tank reiterates demand-side management leading to elections


The Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) has called on the government to take on demand-side management activities to ensure power supply in the upcoming presidential elections, further warning once again of a possible power shortage during the polls itself on May 9.

“If the baseload coal plants continue to be on shutdown during this critical period, the forced outages could deplete the thin operating reserve and could trigger rotating blackouts,” ICSC Chief data scientist Jephraim Manansala said in an online forum on Wednesday.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) has to make an assessment [of] what else that needs to be done and I suppose things like triggering the interruptible load program where industries do not consume from the grid but use their own generation,” said ICSC energy transition advisor Alberto Dalusung III.

Dalusung added that such measures would be the “quickest to implement” among the realistic options like requiring solar rooftops and encouraging industrial firms to establish their own facilities. 

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines declared another Yellow Alert on the Luzon Grid on Saturday night after several power plants had unplanned shutdowns and derated capacities. 

Manasala said that certain coal-fired power plants, like the 300-megawatt (MW) Unit 2 of Semirara Mining and Power Corporation’s Calaca facility and the 123MW Unit 2 of ACEN’s South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation plant in Batangas remain offline.

He added that the targeted date for the commercial operation of Aboitiz Power Corpoation’s GNPower Dinginin 668MW Unit 2 “appears to not be feasible” considering that testing and commissioning for the 668MW Unit 1 took ten months. 

Energy officials, back in January, said that Dinginin Unit 2’s testing and commissioning would be done in the first week of May, just right before the elections. A Yellow Alert was also raised over Luzon in January, which is unusual for a cold month in the country’s largest island.

ICSC had said in February that the possibility of a “very tight power supply” situation in the Luzon Grid is a threat to the integrity of the polls.

“We will expect power outages on election day, like previous elections, which will cast doubt again on the whole electoral process due to the delay of the casting and counting of ballots. It happened several times before, so there should be no excuses,” Climate Reality Project manager Nazrin Camille Castro said.