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Luzon electricity peak demand rises as firms, factories hum back to life

Electricity peak demand in Luzon has already breached the level recorded in September 2019 by 3 percent, data from the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) showed.

The electricity spot market operator said Thursday that Luzon peak demand last September 8 stood at 10,563 megawatts (MW) while September 2019 peak demand was recorded at 10,260MW.

The 303MW difference was brought about by an increase in economic activities as the government relaxed community quarantine restrictions.

“At the onset of September, the Luzon peak demand was noticeably increasing. We have already breached 2019 level peak demand for September. This can be attributed to an improving economic activity. This is a good sign that we are slowly recovering. Hopefully, we can sustain this in the coming months,” said IEMOP Chief Operating Officer Robinson P. Descanzo Descanzo during a virtual press briefing.

Based on data presented, peak demand in April this year stood at 8,277MW  from April 2019’s 10,889MW; 9,607MW in May this year from 11,181MW in May last year; 10,594MW in June 2020 from 11,307 in June 2019; 10,552MW in July this year from 10,927MW in July last year; and 10,345MW in August 2020 from 10,544MW in August last year.

Including Visayas, IEMOP reported that the System Peak Demand likewise exceeded its 2019 demand levels in September by 1.3 percent or 163 MW higher to 12,586MW.

Descanzo added that the aggregated Luzon and Visayas peak demand of 12,586 MW on September 8 was the highest demand recorded since July.

However, the state weather bureau expects La Niña to occur starting this month. Descanzo said this weather condition could affect power usage.

“With La Niña approaching, demand could go down because of a cooler temperature and less activities outside because of rainy days ahead. We hope there would be an uptick in the side of manufacturing as Christmas season is fast approaching. We expect some activities to address the requirement for the coming holidays,” he said.

IEMOP is the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), the country’s trading floor for electricity.

It also reported that the effective spot settlement price (ESSP) for customers in August stood at P2.08 per kilowatt hour (kWh). This, however, spiked to as high as P36.11 per kWh during a single interval beginning September 4 when several power plants went offline.

“Beginning September 4, 2020, a decrease in supply level was observed with several generating plants going on scheduled maintenance, a number of notable plants on forced outages, and capacity deration of some power producers,” it said.

“There were 31 trading intervals with market clearing prices higher than P10 per kWh for the period of September 4-13. Despite the occurrence of price spikes on the said period, the average price still amounted to only P3.64 per kWh as of September 13.”

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