THE INSTITUTE for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) is projecting a shortfall in electricity supply in the second quarter, raising concerns if there will be enough power ahead of and during the elections in May.

The ICSC’s Luzon Power Outlook report, which was released on Tuesday, challenged the grid operators’ outlook there will be sufficient electricity supply during the April to June period.

“Given historical trends and current power reserve issues, [we] anticipate a 1,335-megawatt (MW) deficit in the country’s electricity supply during peak demand, leading to a red alert status and possible blackouts over the Luzon grid in the second quarter of 2022,” ICSC said in a statement.

“This is supported by the Department of Energy (DoE), who foresees red and yellow alerts raised across the Luzon grid after the elections on May 9.”

The climate and energy policy group said the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ (NGCP) projection that operating reserves will likely be thinner two weeks before (April 18-May 1) and after (May 16-29) the elections is the “most optimistic” scenario. However, it noted this forecast does not take into consideration possible unplanned outages of coal power plants.

“Unreliable electricity supply would undermine the credibility of the elections. We need our electrical power system to provide reliable supply especially during election day and while transmitting data; otherwise our political power system might fail if the results are not accepted by our people,” Pedro Maniego, Jr., ICSC senior policy advisor, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Filipinos head to the polls on May 9 to elect national and local officials. The campaign period began on Tuesday.

ICSC also said complications may arise from two coal power plants that have had recent unplanned shutdowns.

“If there is no definite schedule as to when these coal plants can provide reliable power supply again, the DoE should take them out of what they consider dependable capacity. Keeping these plants in the scheduled total dependable capacity will only mask the power supply deficiency problem, like what is happening today,” ICSC chief data scientist and report co-author Jephraim Manansala said. — MCL