NGCP developing website for Mindanao electricity market players

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/10 September)— With two weeks left before the start of the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM), the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is fast-tracking the development of a website to help grid customers in the energy market’s operation.

Cynthia Perez-Alabanza, NGCP spokesperson, said the website, http://imem.ngcp.ph, will be used to upload and download generators’ and load customers’ capacity nomination data and schedules for the use of all players in the electricity market in Mindanao.

She said the website development is in support to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) efforts to deliver sustainable solutions to stabilize the Mindanao power situation.

In its Department Circular No. DC2013-01-0001 dated January 9, 2013, the DOE ordered the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) to develop and implement an interim electricity market specifically designed for the Mindanao grid, which has been experiencing brownouts due to a power supply deficit.

The commercial operation of the IMEM is scheduled to commence on September 26. Trial operation has been ongoing since August 26.

“NGCP remains supportive of the initiatives of DOE and PEMC and is very much willing to assist in finding solutions to the electric power concerns in Mindanao. IMEM is the first step to ensure free and fair competition and public accountability,” Alabanza said in a statement issued late Monday afternoon.

Ermelindo Bugaoisan Jr., NGCP’s Systems and Standards Head of the Technical Services Department, said the electricity market in Mindanao will focus on filling-up the power deficiency in the grid.

“NGCP will be in a better position to balance the available capacities with the demand and manage constraints if the relevant data from all generators and load customers are submitted and accounted for. This is how crucial the infrastructure of the web-based program is to the operation of the IMEM,” he said.

DOE is said to be in talks with embedded generators for the installation of Remote Terminal Unit devices that are compliant with the requirements of the IMEM.

Embedded generators are end-users or entities whose generating units are indirectly connected to the grid through the distribution utility’s lines and may also refer to generation facilities of large industrial customers, within the distribution utility’s network, that are synchronized to the grid.

For its part, aside from developing the online program for the submission and management of generators-load customers’ capacity nomination, generation scheduling and data provision, NGCP is also expediting the installation of Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)-compliant revenue metering facilities among its directly connected grid customers.

Among its 15 grid-connected generator customers with 36 metering points, NGCP already installed 26 IMEM-ready metering facilities.

“The biggest challenge is in Agus 6 complex where five metering facilities still need to be installed,” said Emmanuel M. Sotomil, NGCP’s Metering Services Head.

He explained that in this case, large instrument transformers will have to be hauled, mounted on pedestals, then tapped to high-voltage overhead lines. NGCP has been coordinating with the power plant owner-operator, National Power Corporation (NPC), because the lines should be de-energized and some of the plant generating units should be shut down for the installation to be completed.

Among its 53 grid-connected load customers, which include distribution utilities and non-distribution utilities, with 184 metering points, NGCP already installed 180 IMEM-ready metering facilities.

Yet to be installed are metering facilities inside two military camps in Iligan and NPC’s Regional Office and its Ditucalan Complex, both also located in Iligan.

The IMEM is expected to address the need to establish a venue for transparent and efficient utilization of all available capacities, particularly during periods where the contracted supply capacities of the load customers, such as the distribution utilities and industrial customers, are not enough to meet the demand.

IMEM is also intended to reflect the true cost of electricity and, therefore, encourage the dispatch and utilization of existing available power generating facilities and/or to attract the entry of new generating capacities in Mindanao.

As such, the successful operations of the IMEM would be dependent on the finalization and approval of the Dispatch Protocol by the DOE and PEMC, and the full cooperation of the grid-connected generators, customers and prospective IMEM suppliers, NGCP said.

According to the DOE Circular, the IMEM will have a day-ahead market wherein market participants submit their nominations a day before the actual delivery or curtailment of energy. All generation capacities, directly connected customers, and distribution customers shall be part of a mandatory program that aims to address only the deficiency of supply in the grid. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)

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