Cusi eyes revival of power market in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 November) —  Energy secretary Alonfoso Cusi is eyeing a review of the electricity market in Mindanao to address the huge excess in energy supply with new baseload coal-plants entering the island grid.

The Power Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), the operator of Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Luzon, used to handle the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM) before its suspension in February 2014 due to “system collapse in Mindanao” and the need to “resolve operational and commercial issues and concerns.”

In his message delivered by Energy undersecretary Benito Ranque during the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AMRECO) Summit in Cagayan de Oro City last Friday, Cusi said the electricity market will provide a venue for all distribution utilities and electric cooperatives to buy power even if they are not covered by an existing power supply contracts, at a competitive price.

He said the electricity market will ensure a stable power while at the same time foster a more competitive market that will bring in more investments to Mindanao.

Cusi said these developments “run parallel with President Rodrigo Duterte’s twin priorities of fully addressing the power situation, at the same time, pumping more economic activity and creating more jobs and livelihood in his most beloved homeland of Mindanao.”

He said  the commissioning of about 973 MW combined power from base-load coal plants will cause a massive shift in the power situation of Mindanao from having a supply deficit to excess in power generation.

He said Mindanao power consumers should brace for this major change in the power supply side.

“If, as before, we had painstakingly grappled with issues of supply shortage and rotating blackouts, we may be facing this time novel issues concerning pricing and competition,” he said.

The energy secretary also acknowledged the role of the electric cooperatives in Mindanao power, describing it “relevant as ever” by providing end-users a direct linkage that allows for smooth, quick and unhampered flow of power.
“Such is the unquestionable importance of the electric coops that we want them to always be government’s proactive and effective partners,” he said.

He encouraged the electric cooperatives to put more emphasis on efficiency and high professional and ethical standards in their services.

“This improvement in the organizational culture alone will provide a healthier seedbed for all our desired reforms to take root and grow. For example, this will enable openness, transparency and competitiveness in all of our transactions and aspects of operations,” he said.

Engr. Glenn Reston, OIC of the Power Development Program of the Mindanao Development Authority said on October 25 during Energy Smart Mindanao 2016 at the Park Inn by Radisson Davao that Mindanao needs to have electricity market operating next year.

“With the surplus, even with two shutdowns, we can handle it,” he assured.

He said the electricity market will allow power companies in the island to reallocate the surplus to areas where there is power lack.

“We are entering a regime of surplus capacity. We need to have the market,” he emphasized. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)