With less than two months before the scheduled 20-day Malampaya shutdown, Senator Win Gatchalian urged energy officials to ensure that there will be no power outages when the deep-water gas-to-power project goes on maintenance shutdown in October.
Gatchalian emphasized that the Department of Energy (DOE) needs to ensure that the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP) is followed to avoid a repeat of the unplanned and forced outages. He reiterated the need to ensure back up plans as 30% of households in the country or 6.575 million residential customers are dependent on Malampaya.
“We’ve been assured that brownouts will not happen during the summer season and that there’s sufficient supply, yet power interruption still took place from May 31 to June 2. I do not wish to call them out on this for the second time in a matter of just four months,” Gatchalian said.
The Senate Energy Committee Chairperson took note of the assurance made by DOE officials on the availability of power supply and preparations such as alternative measures when the Malampaya gas field goes offline on October 2 to 22.
“I don’t want to sound like a broken record but I need to reiterate, we cannot afford to have another round of rotational brownouts especially with more hospitals now burdened with rising numbers of COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 vaccines storage facilities need an uninterruptible supply of power. Also, students are about to start their online classes again,” Gatchalian said.
The senator recalled pronouncements made by DOE officials in a hearing by the Senate Energy Committee last April 27 that no power interruption will take place between the months of April to June this year.
When some parts of Luzon were hit by rotating brownouts due to surge in demand brought about by higher heat index, Gatchalian called out the DOE to explain why their projections were off.
DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella was quoted in news reports saying that there is sufficient supply of power as long as there will be no forced outages from power plants during the scheduled shutdown of Malampaya.
“There’s ample time to prepare for any eventuality. We expect the DOE to exhaust all means to ensure the continuity of flow of electricity to our homes and even avert hikes in electricity rates if the supply strain could be addressed ahead of time,” the senator said.