May 20, 2020

Energy official sees flat electricity demand this year

Energy official sees flat electricity demand this year

Electricity demand in the Philippines this year will likely remain at the same level in 2019 amid the coronavirus pandemic, an Energy Department official said Wednesday.

“There was a slight increase in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019 but demand dropped in the second quarter,” Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola said.

“For the third and fourth quarters, we will not reach the forecasted demand. Probably same levels as 2019,” he said.

Philippine power demand rose 5.3 percent in 2019.Mindanao registered the highest growth at 8.6 percent, followed by Visayas at 8.3 percent and Luzon at 4.2 percent.

Daily peak demand in 2019 reached 11,344 megawatts in Luzon, 2,224 MW in Visayas and 2,013 MW in Mindanao.

Daily power demand in Luzon is forecast to reach 12,285 MW, Visayas at 2,419 MW and Mindanao at 2,278 MW.

“For Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, we may not reach our 2020 projections. We are at 2019 levels towards the end of the year. With zero economic growth, we expect little to no growth (also) for power demand,” Delola said.

The official said residential consumption increased during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine starting mid-March.

“What happened during the pandemic was residential consumption went up but it could not compensate the decline from the industrial and commercial sector. That’s why we noticed demand went down by as low as 30 percent,” he said.

Delola said Visayas and Midanao power demand did not go down as much as Luzon in terms of percentage since residential consumers had long been the growth driver.

“As we slowly peak up, as we slowly normalize, we will go back to the normal trend but for this year, the impact is likely huge. In fact, we’re seeing there is no growth for the year, so we’ll remain at levels that we have at 2019 then by next year, the growth will be smaller,” he said.

He added the residential sector would likely continue to grow as people opted to remain indoors to avoid being infected by COVID-19.

Delola said the department was still waiting data from distribution utilities, especially Manila Electric Co., to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industries.

“They were not able to read the meters during the ECQ period so they averaged… Once we collect all these info we will update the forecast of supply and demand, by then we will know the movement individually per industry,” Delola said.

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