Energy chief warns power supply will be 'difficult' in Q1 2023

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The Department of Energy raised the alarm over a potential tight power supply in the early months of 2023. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 7) — The Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday raised the alarm over a potential tight power supply in the early months of 2023.

"The first quarter of next year would be difficult," Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla told a Senate committee hearing. "We need every source of power to bridge that period."

Lotilla said the department is exhausting all efforts to secure resources, including speeding up the delivery of the "stranded" power supply from Bataan.

"Having that in time for the difficult months will be important," he added. "Solar plants will also be coming in towards the first quarter. [These] will require transmission lines and sub-station access, so that would help address [this]."

Lotilla also expressed hope that the Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project is on track for completion to provide power in concerned areas.

The DOE admitted it could only do so much to arrest soaring electricity prices, as bulk of the country's fuel supply is imported.

"It is a global market. Therefore, what happens in one part of the world affects the price we're going to import," the energy chief pointed out.

But Lotilla said the agency is already working with other industry players to explore other ways to bring down electricity costs.

The Energy Regulatory Commission is also planning to review power supply agreements — especially in the regions most affected by outages — "to possibly reduce rates or provide some relief."

The DOE is proposing a P2.22-billion budget for 2023, up from P2.19 billion this year. It said the amount will be used to increase its personnel services, maintenance and operating expenses, and capital outlay for various projects.