By MYRNA M. VELASCO, Contributor
AMID the tension in the region, the propounded launch date as well as trial operations program for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao sails on to concretization this month.
According to Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) President Melinda L. Ocampo, the Department of Energy (DOE) has already given go-signal on the market’s trial operations starting June 26 this year.
Mindanao industry participants, she said, “are expected to be involved in the conduct of end-to-end testing of all interfaces and systems that will involve simulations of all processes,” such as registration, bid submission, pricing and scheduling and settlement.
Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella noted “we are geared to launch the WESM Mindanao this June,” primarily apprising stakeholders in last week’s seminar in Cagayan de Oro City.
The spot market in the southernmost portion of the country’s electricity system will complete the loop of an integrated power market – especially when the physical interconnection of the Visayas and Mindanao grids would be accomplished.
The WESM has been designed as a gross pool – with preferential dispatch set for renewable energy (RE) capacities; while the rest of the technologies compete based on price offers in the market.
The Luzon and Visayas markets are already interconnected, but Mindanao is still physically detached because of socio-economic as well as political concerns.
But Fuentebella set the record straight – that based on Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi’s pronouncements, “WESM is not only for Luzon and Visayas but also for Mindanao.”
Primarily for Mindanao grid that is now stricken with overcapacity, the main goal is injecting efficiency in the utilization of the megawatt-capacities that had not been underwritten by supply contracts.
Cusi repeatedly stated in the past that while the grid is relatively on excess supply, there are end-users still afflicted with power supply interruptions because there is no ‘systematic market’ in which the un-contracted capacities can be channeled in and for such to be procured subsequently by servicing distribution utilities and other off-takers (capacity buyers).
The energy undersecretary stressed “the spot market is where the demand and supply of electricity meet so that there will be an increased efficiency in the use of energy.”
Fuentebella expounded on the need for “fairness and transparency,” being “the bedrock of the rules to have a level playing field for the energy participants.”
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