The heat index remains extremely high in most areas of the country, resulting in an increase in demand for electricity. The higher demand in turn has been putting pressure on the prices of electricity in the spot market and the more expensive oil-based power plants have been dispatched.


On the supply side, the performance of the grid particularly of thermal power plants, is affected by the extremely high temperature. Collective efforts among the government and the private sector are therefore needed to avoid further strain on the grid as well as to avoid running expensive power plants. 


The government is taking the lead in minimizing the country’s power consumption by accelerating the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP).


As early as 16 January 2024, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. directed government agencies through Administrative Order No. 15 to streamline energy consumption to help reduce the overall demand in the grid. He directed government agencies to submit their implementation plans for flexible work arrangements, especially those that have not done so yet. Recently, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Metro Manila Council (MMC) have taken progressive steps by adopting flexible working schedules for public servants in local government units (LGUs) across Metro Manila.


Practical demand-side management were also taken by government agencies, such as setting the thermostat of office air-conditioning units at 24°C to attain a comfort level room temperature of 25°C with operating hours limited only from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, regular maintenance and cleaning of air-conditioners, encouraging employees to take the stairs especially when going one floor up or down, and turning off lights and computers during lunch breaks.


As directed by the President during a Cabinet sectoral meeting, the government is also implementing cloud seeding operations in certain areas of the country. Expansion of rain-seeding operations has been limited with the absence of seedable clouds due to the prevailing El Niño.


Accordingly, the DOE is encouraging the private sector not only to participate in the Interruptible Load Program of the distribution utilities but also to adopt similar energy conservation measures to help reduce demand, especially during the peak hours. At the same time, the public is also requested to continue practicing energy conservation and efficiency measures during peak hours. These measures include turning off lights and unplugging appliances when not in use, closing blinds and curtains, and avoiding, whenever possible, the use of high-energy-consuming devices, which can significantly contribute to alleviating the strain on the grid.  


Each of us can do our share, no matter how minimal it may seem; it will still have a significant impact in mitigating power demand, especially this summer period. ###