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November 18, 2014

THE MANILA STANDARD TODAY: Reserve power proposed

A CONGRESSMAN has called for the creation of a permanent National Strategic Power Reserve that would help provide the country a ready supply of additional electricity during emergencies.

A House Deputy Minority Leader Arnel Ty says the strategic electricity reserve would be drawn from the 3,000 megawatts (MW) that may be produced by privately held backup generators registered with the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We are looking at the Interruptible Load Program(ILP) as an enduring mechanism that could serve as the people’s electricity supplier of last resort during shortages caused by calamities such as earthquakes and typhoons,” said Ty of LPG-MA party list.

The Philippines ranks third out of 173 countries in terms of vulnerability to natural calamities – from earthquakes and tropical storms to flashfloods and landslides – according to the 2013 Risk Index of 2013 World Disasters Report.

“Although the ILP is voluntary in nature, Congress and the ERC may still find ways to establish the program as a stable, secondary reserve mechanism. If necessary, we may provide some financial incentives to participants,” Ty said.

Under the ILP, participants – large consumers such as malls, office and residential towers and factories – may be asked to disconnect from the grid and run their own generators, once the power supply falls short of demand.

The ILP guarantees other consumers – those without any self-generating capacity – adequate electricity despite supply deficiencies.

“As a fixed second reserve mechanism, the ILP will be highly beneficial during catastrophic events, such when some power plants or transmission lines are damaged due to an earthquake, thus causing a large unforeseen drop in supply,” Ty said.

Congress is already pushing for the ILP to help address Luzon’s projected power deficit in the summer of 2015.

Luzon faces a 700-MW power shortfall over 16 weeks from March to July 2015, with the risk of brownouts happening one hour per day every week, according to the Department of Energy.

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