THE Department of Energy (DoE) said power demand declined in the Central Philippines as industrial and commercial establishments, especially malls, closed down due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

Citing data from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the department’s Visayas Field Office on Tuesday said that current peak demand for the grid fell to 1,728 megawatts (MW) on March 28 from 2,186 MW on Jan. 29.

Average weekday demand, meanwhile, also fell to 1,772 MW from 1,870 MW a year earlier.

The DoE said it expects a further reduction in power demand as more parts of the country are being placed under community quarantine. Cebu province was placed under enhanced community quarantine on March 28.

“The daily power situation, as well as the status of all power plants in the region, will be closely monitored to ensure the continuous and stable supply of electricity,” the department said in a statement.

Peak demand in the Visayas grid was initially projected at 2,419 MW in May. In 2019, the grid recorded peak demand of 2,224 MW in May.

The DoE has reported a 30% drop in power demand due to the Luzon-wide lockdown. It has since called on the power industry to continue servicing customers to ensure steady supply of electricity throughout the country. — Adam J. Ang