DOE orders safeguards as Malampaya shuts down
The Department of Energy (DOE) has outlined measures to mitigate the impact of the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas fields scheduled later this month, with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi ordering stakeholders to ensure the continued availability of electricity to protect consumers from so-called market abuses.
The facilities of the Malampaya gas fields off the coast of Palawan are set to be closed for maintenance and repairs from Jan. 28 to Feb. 16. Industry regulators said that consumers would experience an uptick in their electricity bills come March as power plants temporarily shift to higher-priced fuels as an alternative to natural gas.
In a press briefing, DOE officials said they would coordinate closely with all stakeholders including the Malampaya consortium, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp., Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), and generation firms and other distribution utilities to ensure sufficient power supply during the shutdown period.
Initially, Cusi instructed that “materials, equipment and other assets necessary for the maintenance of Malampaya should all be delivered by Jan. 15, and these should be ready for deployment to make sure that the repair activities should remain on schedule.”
The DOE noted that during the maintenance activities, some power plants were also scheduled to go on maintenance as well.
Based on an initial study, the lowest projected power supply capacity during the period will be 8,747 megawatts on Feb. 18, while highest demand is projected to reach 8,610 megawatts on Feb. 9.
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