Mindanao electricity market to commercially operate in September

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 April)– The Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM), which was pushed by the Department of Energy (DOE) to address power shortage in Mindanao by drawing out all generation capacities to the system grid, will kick-off on September 26, ahead of its original schedule next year.

Melinda Ocampo, president of the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), said in a public consultation on the rules of IMEM here that Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla instructed her to fast-track IMEM’s commercial operation.

She said the original schedule was set in 2014, adding “pero pinagalitan na po ako (but I was scolded), so it will be fast-tracked.”

Petilla also pushed earlier the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which is another alternative to bridge the power supply deficiency in Mindanao that began in 2010.

In an interview, Romeo Montenegro, director for investment promotion and public affairs of the Mindanao Development Authority, said with the ILP scheme, malls and other establishments will run their embedded generators on peak hours to lessen the demand, which could save the grid of an estimated 100 to 150 megawatts (MW).

Ocampo explained after the consultation that the power supply under the ILP is available only within franchised areas, unlike in the IMEM where the supply will be available within the system grid.

“This will help solve the power crisis in Mindanao,” she said, noting that under IMEM, all generation capacities in the island will be synchronized into the system with the excess power in other regions supplying the deficiency in other areas.

The IMEM, which will be operated by PEMC, will be a venue “for transparency, efficiency and reliability of all available power supply” in Mindanao, Ocampo said.

Ocampo said that they expect “a hundred percent cooperation” from all stakeholders, that was why public consultations had been conducted.

The public consultation here was the third and last. The first two were held in Zamboanga City last April 4 and Cagayan de Oro City last April 10.

The IMEM will have a day-ahead market and will compensate embedded generators and voluntary load customers through a price determination methodology and cost recovery methodology approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, the IMEM primer said.

The start of registration of IMEM members will be on June 3, while the start of trial operations will be on August 26, based on the IMEM timeline.

Ocampo said the IMEM will serve as a transition to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao, and “will help improve the power situation in the island until new power generation capacities will be added to the grid by 2015.”

The PEMC, which was directed by the DOE to develop and implement the IMEM, operates the WESM in Luzon and Visayas. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)