DAVAO CITY — The wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) in Mindanao is being targeted for launch in the fourth quarter of the year, but it will still depend on results of a third-party evaluation.

Department of Energy (DoE) Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola said in an interview here that the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines, Inc. (IEMOP), which took over WESM operations last year, has hired a third-party consultant to evaluate Mindanao’s readiness to transition to the spot market.

“It is taking three months for the consultant to complete the evaluation, so we hope that by September everything is complete,” said Mr. Delola on the sidelines of last week’s Mindanao Energy Investment Forum held in Davao City.

Stakeholders will meet on April 11 in Cagayan de Oro City for updates on WESM’s launch.

Mr. Delola said the department is also still waiting for the price determination methodology (PDM) from the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We hope that when the PDM is released, every stakeholder is ready for the market operations,” he said.

The WESM in Mindanao was put on a trial run in mid-2017 under the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) and was planned for commercial launch by June 2018.

It did not push through as IEMOP took over the operations of WESM from PEMC in September last year.

Under the original plan, WESM Mindanao would start with 85 trading participants composed of 12 grid generation companies, 26 embedded generation firms, 28 electric cooperatives, four private distribution utilities, and 15 end-users.

The DoE official said the WESM will help distribution utilities in Mindanao, including electric cooperatives, manage their electricity needs.

“They can either source their peak needs from the market, or they can sell their surplus to the market,” he added, noting that some electricity distributors have over-contracted in terms of supply volume.

WESM will also allow Mindanao to sell its surplus to the national grid or buy if demand becomes higher when the interconnection infrastructure is completed.

In November last year, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines started its P52-billion Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project, with the link between Dapitan City and Santander, Cebu.

That link is expected to be completed by next year.

“We will eventually not be isolated,” said Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro of the Mindanao Development Authority. — Carmelito Q. Francisco