Despite adequate power supply, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi wants the government to again join the power generation business by building a reserve power plant.

Cusi warned that if problems in active power plants occurred, supply would not be enough to back up demand as the existing firm reserves were less than the required firm reserves of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ (NGCP), the private power transmission operator.

“Because the firm reserve is 727 megawatts (MW) and the requirement of the transmission concession is 2,604 MW, there is 1,877 MW that should have been there at the capacity available […] if the ancillary reserve is met. This is what we have been trying to do, build this reserve, because again, this affects [the electricity market],” Cusi told the Joined Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC) on Tuesday.

According to the power demand and supply summer outlook report of the Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, the reduced demand for energy during the implementation of prolonged community quarantines in March made the current supply of reserves enough to avoid electricity shortage for the following months.

Cusi said allegations of price manipulation in the electricity market would be resolved if a reserve was built to increase the energy supply.

The chairman of the congressional body, APEC party-list group Rep. Sergio Dagooc, agreed with Cusi.

“I agree with the secretary in his opening statement that the government should really go back into generation (business). Sometimes there are allegations of manipulation in the market… that is already the issue that we have been shouting in Mindanao,” Dagooc said.

NGCP confirmed that it did not have sufficient ancillary supply to meet the required supply level. I.A. Pine