DOE Assures the public of adequate power supply Despite El Niño

The Department of Energy (DOE) assured the public on Thursday that despite the challenges posed by the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, the power supply in the country remains sufficient to meet the needs of both residents and tourists.

Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla emphasized that there is currently an adequate supply of power, thanks to the good and ample water supply in the dams.

“There is right now adequate supply but we will continuously monitor… the dams, (which have) good and adequate water supply,” Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla told reporters in chance remarks on Thursday.

While El Niño has increased the demand for irrigation in the agriculture sector, Sec. Lotilla highlighted that the Philippines is well-prepared to handle the situation due to its reliance on natural gas-fired power plants rather than hydropower.

This strategic energy mix helps mitigate the impact of El Niño on power generation.

To ensure a stable power supply and address rising costs, Mr. Lotilla encouraged the continued focus on energy efficiency and conservation.

“Let’s continue to work on energy efficiency and conservation. Because that would really help us in addressing the cost. We don’t have to run the diesel-fired and the oil-based power plants, which usually increase rates,” he said.

Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara further reassured the public that the DOE does not anticipate any yellow or red alerts at present.

“Based on the power outlook presented to us, so far wala naman tayong nakikitang yellow alerts or red alerts (we are not expecting red or yellow alerts),” she said.

Yellow alerts are declared when the power supply falls below a designated safety margin, while red alerts indicate a further deterioration of the supply situation, potentially resulting in power rationing.

While the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ records show that the Luzon grid’s available generating capacity of 13,076 megawatts (MW) is higher than the system peak demand of 11,029 MW, the Visayas’ supply is another story.

“For Visayas, ’yun ang medyo manipis (supply is thin) … kasi ang margin natin typical day is anywhere from 8% only (On a typical day, the margin of supply over demand is only 8%),” Sec. Guevara said.

The El Niño phenomenon, which is predicted to continue until May as stated by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, has raised concerns about its potential impact on tourism in Boracay.

“Electricity supply interruptions hurt households, businesses, and the economy. Power outages increase households’ and businesses’ expenses to keep them running and disrupt ‘critical infrastructure’ such as banking, transportation, telecommunications, and production, which can lead to huge economic losses,” the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said in a report.

Fortunately, Boracay was spared from experiencing prolonged power outages like those that occurred in Panay last month, as power was restored on the island the following day. Additionally, each tourism establishment on the island is equipped with a generator set to ensure uninterrupted power supply in case of an outage.

With the assurance of a reliable power supply, tourists can be confident that their experience on the island will not be affected. However, it is important for both residents and tourists to be mindful of energy conservation practices as the El Niño phenomenon continues to unfold.

In an interview on the state-run television program “Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” on Tuesday, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Joey Villarama said the government has started conservation efforts and Filipinos should also do their part.

“We should not let our guard down, just because the government said we have enough water and food and there will be no interruption in electricity until a certain period of the year. We should do our share to help,” said the PCO official who is also spokesperson for Task Force El Niño.

“The government will get the ball rolling, but we also ask our countrymen to help in curbing El Niño’s impact. How? Through behavioral changes, those little things will be a big help in conserving our resources,” he added.

By collectively working towards energy efficiency, Boracay can sustain its power supply and minimize any potential disruptions to the tourism sector.

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