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November 14, 2014

GMA 7 NEWS: Meralco eyes supply deals for additional power in summer 2015

Power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is scrambling to secure short-term power supply agreements to ensure continuity of service during the critical summer months of 2015.

Meralco is signing an interim power supply agreement with Aboitiz Power Renewables Inc. for 50-megawatt capacity of Makban geothermal plant in Laguna, president Oscar Reyes told reporters on the sidelines of Asia CEO Awards in Parañaque City Wednesday night.

Apart from this new contract, the distribution utility is also extending its contract with Global Business Power Corp., 1590 Energy Corp.'s Bauang power plant and PanAsia Energy Inc.'s Limay power plant, Reyes said.

"I think, including Makban, about 529 megawatts of interim power supply agreements," he said.

This will be a dedicated capacity for its franchise during the critical period but the power situation will still depend on the state of power plants, Reyes said.

The Meralco franchise area covers 5.5 million commercial and residential customers in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and some parts of Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon.

Privately generated capacity

In summer 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) expects a reserve shortfall in the Luzon grid – primarily stemming from a month-long maintenance shutdown of Malampaya gas lineand scheduled outages of other power plants, Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares said earlier.

As the Malampaya maintenance cannot be moved anymore due to countless delays, the DOE is banking on the interruptible load program (ILP) to manage the power crisis.

The government plans to address the 300-megawatt projected deficit next year and generate another 300 MW in power reserves through ILP.

Reyes said Meralco is working hand in hand with government to encourage more private firms to lend generated capacities during summer.

Of the estimated 2,600 MW capacity of private gensets, about a fifth is being targeted, the Meralco official said.

"We’ve signed up over 300 megawatts and we’re working to bump it up to 400 to 500 megawatts... and hopefully more because there’s a lot outside, even outside the franchise areas," he said.

So far, over 20 companies have agreed to join ILP, House Deputy Minority Leader Arnel Ty said in a statement last month.

These include:

- Ayala Land Inc.

- ABC Development Corp. (TV5)

- Alphaland Development Inc.

- Citystate Centre Condominium Corp.

- Feature Realty Holdings & Development Corp. (Bay City Mall)

- Makati Sky Plaza Inc.

- Manta Equities Inc. (NAC Tower)

- Megaworld Corp.

- Ortigas & Co.

- Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

- Power Concessionaires Inc. (EGI Rufino Plaza)

- Raffles Condominium Corp.

- Robinsons Land Corp.

- Rustan’s Supercenters Inc.

- Seda Hotel-Bonifacio Global City

- Shangri-la Plaza Corp.

- SM Prime Holdings INc.

- Sunstar Mall (Laguna)

- The JMT Condominium Corp.

- The Prestige Tower

- Waltermart Malls

- Xin Tian Ti Development Corp. (Marco Polo Ortigas)

 

Other companies willing to participate in the ILP still have time until March 2015, Reyes noted.

The ILP is more cost effective because consumers will only pay for these reserved capacities when tapped, he noted.

“The advantage of the ILP is, you pay only when used, if National Grid Corporation of the Philippines declares red alert, which means reserves are less than 4 percent,” Reyes said. – VS, GMA News

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