MANILA, Philippines - Consumers are bracing for bigger disappointments in their electric bills next month as prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) continue to soar, with the highest price cleared this week at P62.483 per kilowatt hour.
WESM tipped off that the offer for that particular trading hour was made for the Pantabangan hydro power plant. That has been the highest cleared so far in the spot market, beating even the P45 to P46 per kwh ranges during the red and yellow alert conditions last month.
From July 2 to 8, it has been apparent that drastic prices in the market were unabated, given that the period was not even the scheduled shutdown of the Malampaya gas production facility yet.
On Friday last week (July 6), the maximum offer accepted by the market was another all-time high at P51.161 per kwh; while P33.840 per kwh was a price surge recorded last July 5.
The average prices on those high-priced trading days had been at P12.278 and P13.371 per kwh, respectively, according to WESM report.
Visayas prices were similarly soaring, with the highest cleared bid at P45.792 per kwh last July 6. Other record prices were at P33.143 per kwh last July 8; and P25.510 per kwh on July 7.
For the entire week, the average recorded price for the Luzon grid was at P9.105 per kwh; and P8.487 per kwh for the Visayas.
In the weekly report issued by WESM operator Philippine Electricity Market Corporation, it indicated that the capacity of several coal-fired power plants were unavailable, primarily last July 5, either due to scheduled maintenance, forced outages or de-rated capacities. These include Sual 2, Calaca 1, Pagbilao 2, Quezon Power and Kepco-SPC plant in Cebu.
"Because of the tight supply conditions, the market results reflected under-generation or load shedding conditions in some trading intervals even during the weekend when demand was relatively lower," PEMC has noted.
It added that fewer must-run units (MRUs) were also being designated by system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) because most of the MRUs in Luzon "were undergoing testing for commercial operation requirements."
The WESM added that in the Visayas, "the few MRUs that were designated were mostly from the island of Panay to address system voltage requirements."
It has also been emphasized that the congestion in some transmission facilities, both in Luzon and Visayas, "resulted in market runs experiencing price separations within the affected grid."