President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is anticipating the reduction of power rates and the creation of more jobs in Mindanao once it connects to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) next month.
Last Monday, the President led the launch of the upcoming linking of the Mindanao power grid to the nationwide WESM 'to establish a competitive, efficient, transparent and reliable market for electricity' in the region.
'In the long run, WESM will help in sustaining power generation investments to meet the ever-growing electricity demand,' Marcos said during the launch.
The availability of cheaper power in Mindanao, the President said, will help spur economic activity in the region, particularly in its manufacturing industry, thus creating more employment opportunities.
Likewise, he said, it would also allow power producers in Mindanao to sell their 2,000 megawatts of uncontracted capacities in other parts of the country through the WESM.
'Indeed, the presence of WESM in Mindanao and an interconnected and interdependent grid in the country will not only ensure a level playing field in the competitive energy market but will also provide assurance to investors,' Marcos said.
WESM is the centralized 'trading floor' for electricity, which can be accessed by large-scale buyers and sellers.
WESM started its operation in the Luzon grid in 2006 and in Visayas in 2010. The connection of the Mindanao grid was delayed for more than five years pending the completion of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP).
The MVIP is expected to be finally completed by the end of March.
Despite Mindanao having a registered power capacity of 4,321 megawatts of registered capacity, and a peak demand of only around 2,167 megawatts, electricity rates in the region remain high.
Last year, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri raised concern over the increasing power rates in Mindanao, citing power rates in Cagayan de Oro increasing from P10.62 in January 2022 to P14.90 last July.
The lawmaker called for the review and amendment of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 to address the matter.