• Meralco set to kick off power back-up plan for summer

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    Power distributor Manila Electric Co. is getting ready to implement a power back-up plan devised by the Department of Energy (DOE) to meet an expected surge in electricity demand during the summer months.

    Meralco has invited more than 100 heavy power user companies with their own large back-up generating sets to participate in the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which is being introduced in coordination with the DOE.

    The ILP, as Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla explained earlier, requires big power users or industries to stop relying on the Luzon grid for electricity supply and use their reserve or their power generating units during peak hours. In return, they will be compensated and even allowed to sell their excess power to the grid.

    The plan is expected to ease the pressure on the grid as well as on prices on the electricity spot market. The Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) saw a spike in prices late last year when power plants in the Malampaya Natural Gas Field went offline for scheduled maintenance and forced outages.

    “Through this, the aggregate demand for power from the system will be reduced to a more manageable level, helping ensure the availability of supply during the season,” a Meralco official said. The utility company projects demand to increase by about 4 percent from last year’s level.

    “With the ILP, power supply from the grid that will not be consumed by participating customers will be available for use by other customers within the franchise area,” Meralco Senior Assistant Vice President and Utility Economics Head Larry Fernandez said.

    Fernandez added that as part of the preparations, a dry run of the ILP has been conducted in cooperation with SM Malls.

    “The successful one-hour practice run resulted in a 4.4 MW reduction in load on the grid,” he said.

    The program is being introduced in coordination with the DOE.

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