POWER demand has fallen about 30% during the Luzon enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), reflecting the decline in power use by shuttered businesses, the Department of Energy (DoE) said late Wednesday.

Energy-related investments, it said, are also expected to be hindered by the lockdown, which has restricted public transport and forced workers in non-exempt industries to stay home.

“The primordial concern right now is to defeat the (COVID-19) crisis,” DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in a statement.

The department asked the energy industry to defer bill collections by 30 days or until after the lockdown period ends on April 14.

On Saturday, the DoE released guidance regarding the continuous delivery of energy, including a pass system and guidance on signage for fuel cargoes to allow them to make it past checkpoints. It has also arranged for fuel imports to land unimpeded.

Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., which has a 45% stake in the Malampaya Deep Water Gas Field, was allowed by the DoE to continue deliveries and allowed free movement for its employees.

Energy Development Corp., which operates 61% of the Philippines’ geothermal capacity, said in a statement that it is maintaining its generating operations to support key industries like hospitals, the pharmaceutical sector, and food manufacturers.

AC Energy Philippines, Inc. disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that it has adequate fuel inventories for the duration of the lockdown.

The Batangas power plants of Semirara Mining and Power Corp. are also up and running, the company said.

Aboitiz Power Corp. said its fuel supply chain for its power plants remains open, and it is arranging for imported parts to be delivered promptly.

The Manila Electric Co. said it has experienced delays in the delivery of essential parts sourced from China, affecting its operations and maintenance activities.

PetroEnergy Resources Corp. reported that as a result of travel restrictions, its scheduled power plant maintenance by third-party foreign suppliers could be affected.

Greenenergy Holdings, Inc. told the PSE that it has informed the supplier of its solar products to defer shipments to after the quarantine period. — Adam J. Ang