Gov't calls for water, electricity conservation

Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:00 AM    Views : 623by:Richmond Mercurio

The government yesterday called on consumers to start conserving water and electricity this summer which is unusually dry.

While water supply is deemed sufficient countrywide, power supply will be tight in Luzon and insufficient in Mindanao.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said it is advisable for everyone to use water supply "prudently.

"We would have to consider that water is not only for domestic or household use. We have to share our supply with the agricultural sector to irrigate our farmlands, which are vulnerable during the dry season; and with the power sector to generate electricity that is more in demand now for cooling purposes," Paje said.

The dry months in the country are expected to occur from March to May.

With the country now within the summer season, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said his department has already prepared to carry out cloud seeding operations to induce rain over areas that would be needing it.

Alcala said the move is part of the agency's proactive strategy against a feared protracted dry spell, even as the country's weather bureau said it's too early to tell the occurrence of El Niņo phenomenon this year.

"We are taking a proactive stance against the threat of a long dry spell even as PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) is saying El Niņo is not yet in sight," Alcala said.

The worst El Niņo experienced in the country was reportedly in 1997 to 1998, when more than P8 billion worth of crops was destroyed, the Department of Agriculture said.

The country's energy department for its part is also preparing for the possible effects of the summer season to the power supply.

The Department of Energy is encouraging the public to use fuels and electricity "judiciously" especially in the summer months when demand will be higher.

It has also recently implemented the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) in Luzon as a safety measure given the rising power demand during summer.

ILP will serve as an option for distribution utilities like Meralco and electric cooperatives to ask their big load customers to serve their own power needs by using their own generator sets in the event that all available mechanisms implemented to ensure sufficient supply will fail.

The DOE said power supply situation remains tight in Luzon as the region registers its highest annual demand during the summer months. The tightness in supply is further aggravated by the maintenance and forced shutdown of various power plants.

Mindanao distribution utilities, meanwhile, have been utilizing the ILP to augment its power requirements. However, power supply in the island remains to be insufficient due to the lack of baseload power and reduced capacity of its hydro plants during summer.


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