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ERC warns of power rate hikes during dry season months

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Thursday warned that electricity rates could spike during the hot dry season months amid the expected demand uptick and thin power reserves.

ERC chairperson and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta took note that electricity rates “historically” go up during the “summer” months.

“Historically kapag summer months, tumataas ‘yung demand and yet ‘yung supply lumiliit,” Dimalanta said during the Pandesal Forum.

(Historically, during summer months, demand goes up and yet the supply declines.)

The ERC chair explained that water level goes down from March to May, thus affecting the performance of hydroelectric power plants resulting in reliance on more expensive alternative fuel sources such as oil and gas.

Energy Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra earlier said the Luzon power grid is expected to be placed under yellow alert 12 times — during the year’s week 11 in March, weeks 13 and 17 in April, all weeks of May, weeks 22 and 23 in June, week 35 in September, week 42 in October, and week 47 in November.

A yellow alert is issued when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement, which is at 668MW each.

A red alert status is issued when supplies are insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines also said that power supply is seen to be thin during the hot dry season months due to the expected uptick in demand.

The NGCP, citing a forecast from the DOE, said the total peak demand of 13,125 megawatts (MW) for the Luzon grid is seen to occur towards the end of May, an 8.35% increase from the actual 2022 peak load of 12,113MW which occurred on May 12, 2022.

For the Visayas grid, the peak demand is seen at 2,691MW, up 16.9% from the actual peak load of 2,316MW seen in September last year.

For the Mindanao grid, the projected peak demand is at 2,395MW, 10.52% higher than the actual peak load of 2,167MW seen in June 2022.—AOL, GMA Integrated News