By: Jim Lloyd Dongiapon

What was expected as the launch of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao on December 26, 2022 did not happen as the Department of Energy (DOE) decided to postpone it again for one month, or on January 26 of this year.

DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla released Department Circular 2022-12-0039, announcing the new target date for the kickoff of WESM’s operations on the island group.

“The DOE hereby declares January 26, 2023, as the COD [commercial operations date] of the WESM in Mindanao. For this purpose, the scheduling and dispatch of capacities in Mindanao shall be based on the schedules generated by the IMO [Independent Market Operator] in accordance with the WESM rules and the relevant market manuals, and as otherwise provided herein,” the circular stated. 

One of the factors contributing to its delayed implementation was the ongoing Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP). 

The agency emphasized that WESM implementation in Mindanao is necessary for the project’s commercial operation in order to facilitate the efficient transfer and settlement of electricity exchanges through the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection.

An HVDC system with a starting capacity of 450 megawatts will be used by the MVIP to connect the Mindanao grid to the Visayas grid.

Out of the 100 expected participants, 69 had finished WESM registration as of November 2022 in Mindanao. According to the DOE, the final requirements of the unregistered participants would not interfere with the WESM’s commercial operations in Mindanao. However, the agency has given them until January 15 to register.

Distribution utilities, electric cooperatives, and power generators in Mindanao would be able to directly purchase their power supply through WESM, which is expected to result in fewer power outages in the island group as they can use the spot market to make up for any supply shortages. 

The spot market, which was established in accordance with Republic Act 9136, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, began in June 2006 in Luzon and December 2010 in the Visayas.

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