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Meralco proceeds with bids for 170-MW emergency supply

POWER distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will proceed with emergency procurement of 170-megawatt (MW) power supply in preparation for the dry months and the national elections, it said on Thursday.

Jose Ronald V. Valles, head of Meralco’s regulatory management office,  said the Department of Energy (DoE) had approved the terms of reference for the competitive selection process (CSP) for the supply of peaking power.

“[T]his will help Meralco ensure availability of reliable and cost-competitive supply, which is especially critical during the 2022 dry months and the upcoming national elections,” he said in a statement.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) through Resolution No. 13, Series of 2015, mandated all distributing utilities to conduct CSP, or a bidding scheme, to procure their power supplies from generators.

The CSP will be deemed successful if the electricity distribution utility, in this case Meralco, receives at least two qualified bids, the ERC rules state.

The DoE approval came in a letter to Meralco dated Dec. 17. Companies willing to participate in the bidding must submit their expression of interest by Jan. 5 next year, while the deadline for bid submission is on Feb. 2.

The approved terms of reference, which was published on Thursday, said the contract for the 170-MW power supply will cover the period Feb. 26 to July 25, 2022.

In August, DoE Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella said the DoE was not expecting power outages to disrupt the Luzon grid on election season.

In September, Mr. Fuentebella assured lawmakers during budget deliberations that there would be a minimum of 1,500-MW power reserves in the Luzon grid to avoid power interruptions during the elections.

The Energy department earlier said there would be thinning in power reserves due to higher demand and lack of water in hydro plants in middle of next year.

Shares in Meralco dropped P1 or 0.33% to close at P302 apiece at the local bourse on Friday. — Marielle C. Lucenio

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