Mindanao WESM targeted for launch in early 2023


THE INDEPENDENT Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) said it hopes to launch Mindanao’s wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) by the first quarter of next year.

In a virtual briefing, Isidro E. Cacho, Jr., IEMOP’s head of Corporate Strategy and Communications, said the launch could precede the energization of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP).

“We are also working with the DoE (Department of Energy), ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission), PSALM (Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.), Mindanao electric cooperatives and stakeholders, hopefully we can launch WESM before MVIP,” Mr. Cacho said in a briefing last week.

Mr. Cacho said WESM Mindanao needs to launch before the MVIP is completed.

“Hopefully we can launch the WESM before the completion of Visayas interconnection,” he said.

The P52-billion MVIP aims to connect the three main grids to ensure the sharing of energy across the network.

The project, which was certified in 2018 as an Energy Project of National Significance, was initially targeted for completion by December 2020. The NGCP then said the project is expected to be completed in 2022 due to delays caused by the pandemic.

“If the MVIP is completed first and we do not have a market yet, the question is, who would pay for the power flowing in the interconnection?” Mr. Cacho said.

According to a joint application of IEMOP and Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) to the ERC, approval is being sought for market fees for Calendar Year (CY) 2023.

Market fees are determined under Section 30 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), authorizing the market operator to recover the cost of administering and operating the wholesale electricity spot market.   

The joint application seeks provisional authority for IEMOP to impose a market fee of P0.0093 per kilowatt hour (kWh) on all power supply registered with the WESM, based on actual generation. It estimated that the proposed market fees for CY 2023 will generate P1.16 billion.

IEMOP is a non-profit operator of WESM.

WESM is the venue for generators to sell excess power not committed to long-term contracts. — Ashley Erika O. Jose