THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the partial lifting of the suspension imposed in March to enable the flow of reserve power into the system.

In an order promulgated on May 9, the ERC allowed the settlement of 30% of the amounts due on the reserve market transactions during the March billing month.

“The decision was made in an effort to ensure continuous operations of power generators providing reserves in the system following the suspension order issued on March 25, 2024,” the ERC said.

Citing simulations, the regulator projected the partial payments are expected to be worth P1.7 billion.

The amount is subject to adjustments pending the submission of the list of non-compliant generators by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), an intervenor in the case.

The reserves traded for the March period were valued at P5.7 billion, the ERC said.

Arjon Valencia, corporate planning and communications manager of the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), said IEMOP “will implement the order accordingly and will continue its close coordination with the ERC and the DoE (Department of Energy) for the immediate resumption of reserve market commercial operations,” he said via Viber message.

ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa C. Dimalanta said the commission hopes to complete its evaluation within the month before fully lifting the suspension.

The ERC is “waiting for IEMOP and NGCP to complete the submission of required documents,” she said in a Viber message.

She said that the partial lifting of the suspension could possibly lead to upward adjustments in transmission charges.

“Total rates will still depend on the generation mix,” she said.

The reserve market allows the optimization of the market operator and system operator interfaces and automated real-time dispatch of committed ancillary services.

Ancillary services are deployed by grid operators to support the transmission of power from generators to consumers to maintain reliable operations.

The full commercial operations of the reserve market commenced in January.

In the suspension order in March, the ERC said that the IEMOP reported “significant price increases” in reserve costs for March compared to February. The regulator has said that the increase will impact the total price of electricity paid for by the public.

In an advisory on Wednesday afternoon, the NGCP raised yellow alerts over the Visayas grid between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The available capacity was 2,968 megawatts (MW) while peak demand was 2,646 MW.

The grid operator said that the yellow alerts were lifted with the availability of power from the Cebu Energy Development Corp. unit 1 and Panay Diesel 1-3. 

A yellow alert is issued when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s contingency requirement. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera