Power consumption down, surplus up to 25% amid pandemic, says DOE
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has a surplus power reserve capacity of around 20 to 25 percent as demands for electricity declined amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Energy (DOE) said Monday.
During the House deliberation on DOE’s proposed budget for 2021, Baguio City Rep. Mark Go asked if there was a significant reduction in electricity consumption in the country since mid-March – when the government imposed lockdowns to arrest the spread of COVID-19 – up to now.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said there was a reduction in power demand from March to June ranging from 20 to 30 percent.
“Our surplus capacity or the reserve capacity that we had during the pandemic ranges also from around 20-25 percent,” Cusi said.
Due to this decrease in electricity demand, Cusi said privately-owned generation companies incurred losses, particularly on their sales.
Earlier in the hearing, Cusi said DOE requested a P2.6 billion budget from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). However, DBM only approved P2.149 billion.
Go argued that DOE needs more funding given what the department is doing and the requirements of the country.
However, Cusi said that the approved funding by DBM is “sufficient” for them to run the department.
“The budget that was given to us is sufficient for us to run the department, considering the function that we are doing are more on the policy matter and regulation matter and every activity, all the functions of generation, transmission, and distribution are all in the hands of the private sector,” said Cusi.
On the part of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said that the agency requested a budget of P1.1 billion. However, the DBM only approved P564 million.
This is 48 percent lower than their original proposal.
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