DAVAO CITY –Commercial operation of the Wholesale Electric Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao is targeted to start by June 2018, the the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) has announced.

Katrina G. Amuyot, PEMC training assistant manager, said in a briefing Tuesday, Dec. 5, that the early part of next year would serve as the last stretch of preparations and coordination meetings on the WESM system.

“WESM Mindanao was launched in June this year. That launching was also the start of the trial operation to check how prepared we are (and) readiness ofthe participants,” Ms. Amuyot said.

“Training and registration will be continuously done until the start of the commercial operation,” she added.

There are currently 85 expected trading participants composed of 12 grid generation companies, 26 embedded generation firms, 28 electric cooperatives, four private distrbution utilities, and 15 end-users.

Electric cooperatives, which make up the majority of retail power distributors in Mindanao, were initially skeptic on the implementation of WESM in Mindanao, but lawyer Francis Saturnino C. Juan, chief operating officer of the PEMC Transition Committee, said the trial operations in the past months have allowed them to understand the merits of WESM, which is already being implemented in Luzon and the Visayas.

“We have slowly won over some skeptics about the WESM in Mindanao,” Mr. Juan said, adding that they will continue with briefings and consultation activities.

“They have seen already the benefits and merits of operating the market now, especially since we have excess capacity in Mindanao right now… this is the opportune time,” he said.

At the WESM-Mindanao launch in Davao City last June, Energy UndersecretaryFelix William B. Fuentebella, the department’s spokesperson, said the mechanism aims to help ensure the long-term entry of investors in Mindanao through the efficient delivery of energy services with competitive pricing. — Maya M. Padillo