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Power rate hike looms amid unexpected power plants shutdowns

/ 04:10 PM April 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Consumers may be slapped with higher electricity rates next month amid the unexpected shutdown of several power plants that affected the Luzon grid.

Although it is still too early to see the “full impact” of the simultaneous forced shutdowns of Luzon power plants, Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary and Spokesperson Wimpy Fuentebella said Monday that the spike in power rates next month is “likely.”

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“Makikita natin ‘yung full impact kapag nagkaroon na ng impact from both the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and the distribution utility,” Fuentebella said in a press briefing in Taguig City.

(We can see the full impact if it has already affected both the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and the distribution utility.)

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“Malamang tataas (It is likely that there will be a power rate hike),” he added.

The Luzon grid was placed on red alert for three consecutive days last week as multiple power plants conked out. The largest grid in the country was again placed under red alert on Monday.

READ: Brownouts feared Monday afternoon as Luzon grid goes on red alert

A red alert notice means that the projected demand exceeds available power generating capacity and there is zero contingency reserve. This prompted the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to implement rotational brownout to maintain the integrity of the power system.

Power plants that were non-operational Monday are the following:
-SMC Consolidated Power Corporation (SMCCPC) Limay Unit 2
-Team Energy Corporation Sual Unit 1
-Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation (SLPGC) Unit 2
-Pagbilao Energy Corporation Unit 3

Nonetheless, the DOE assured consumers that they have employed measures to protect them from sudden spikes in power rates.

“Ang masasabi ko po sa consumers, nararamdaman nating ‘yung problema lalong-lalo na kapag wala tayong kuryente (What I can say to the consumers is that we are going to feel this problem, especially if we don’t have electricity). It’s bothering to us, but we are also working doubly hard to deliver those power requirements,” Fuentebella said.

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“Meron tayong nilalagay na consumer protection measures. Ang consumer protection measures na ito ay hindi lamang energy efficiency, meron tayong mga polisiya na ayaw nating ipasa sa inyo [consumers] itong mga pagtaas na ito…no pass on kapag hindi ito nakaitemize,” he added.

(We introduced some consumer protection measures not only for energy efficiency. We have policies in place that we do not pass on the cost to you if they were not itemized.) /ee

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TAGS: DoE, Philippine news update, power outage, power plant shutdowns, power rate hike
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