No WESM Suspension Amidst COVID - ERC
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) assured that the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) will continue to operate amidst the government’s declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines (Proclamation No. 922) for the management of the COVID-21019. This ensures that the Distribution Utilities (DUs) will have a stand by source of power supply and provide continuous electricity.“The Commission has been closely monitoring the activities in the WESM and there is no breach in the criteria or parameters that would warrant the declaration of a market suspension at this time. We also got assurance from both the Market Operator (MO) and the System Operator (SO) of their abilities to continue their operations amid the nationwide Community Quarantine”,
ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera averred.
The SO and PEMC-MO have both submitted to the ERC their respective Business Continuity Plans considering the current COVID-19 situation. The PEMC-MO is currently implementing Risk Scenario 1 or the “business-as-usual” despite the current situation. Close coordination with the IATF-EID is being implemented and Market Advisories will be provided to all Trading Participants and Stakeholders containing status updates on the Market Operations.
The Head of SO-Luzon, Engr. Reynaldo Abadilla, further, reported to the ERC that the demand is basically low and that the Luzon grid is in a normal state. It was also affirmed that the Market is implementable and operating in full swing, thus the declaration of a market intervention is still unlikely.
The ERC further noted that the WESM prices have been declining during the past days due to lower demand on account of the community quarantine being enforced, thus it is expected that lower resulting prices will continue which will redound to the benefit of the consumers.“The Commission does not see the necessity of declaring a market suspension as doing so will result to higher administered prices because these will be based on prices during the previous four weeks, which is relatively higher. We will be in constant coordination with the System Operator and the Market Operator to ensure that we are kept informed and advised accordingly of the situation of the Market in the light of the current Enhanced Community Quarantine being implemented in Luzon and in other parts of the country”
, ERC Chair Devanadera added.
The ERC may suspend the operations of the WESM or declare a temporary failure thereof, particularly in cases of national and international security, emergencies or natural calamities pursuant to Section 30 of Republic Act No. 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001.