New WESM system, Mindanao spot market set for December launch

Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)

THE Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) hopes to launch the upgraded design of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and the new spot trading floor in Mindanao by December.

The independent operator reported to the market participants last week that it is still conducting preparatory activities to gauge both system and participants’ readiness for the new market management system, as well as completing various regulatory approvals.

The IEMOP, with the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), is targeting Dec. 26 for the launch of the new system.

“It is expected that the DoE (Department of Energy) will approve of the go-live date once all the requirements under the regulatory approvals, system readiness, and trading participants’ readiness are completed,” Andrea May T. Caguete, assistant manager for Market Information Modelling at IEMOP, said in her presentation.

The operator recently resumed its parallel operations program to familiarize participants with the new market system. The program covers processes from bidding to billing.

“We are still a few more steps away to achieving an acceptable rate of participation in the parallel operations program,” Ms. Caguete noted.

Also, a trial operations program was launched for Mindanao participants, the involvement of which remains low.

“There is still a low turnout for embedded generators and directly-connected customers in the region,” Katrina A. Garcia-Amuyot, IEMOP manager for Stakeholder Services, said. Out of 28 Mindanao generators, only four have joined, while two out of 13 customers have participated.

IEMOP is still conducting performance tuning and reliability testing, both of which will end in August, as well as security assessment with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), which will start next week. By the end of September, it expects the market system to be ready.

On regulatory requirements, a system audit will be held this month. A software certification from the audit is needed for the Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of its price determination methodology and certification of market readiness by the PEMC Board.

Also, its rules and manuals for the enhanced WESM system remain pending with the DoE.

The upgraded system will introduce a five-minute market trading interval which is expected to make the market efficient and attractive for investors in the long run, according to Isidro C. Cacho, IEMOP’s chief corporate strategy and communications officer.

Meanwhile, IEMOP noted that spot prices in June rose to P3.25 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) from May’s P2.19/kWh primarily due to higher demand as commercial and industrial establishments resumed operations with the easing of quarantine.

The operator observed a spike in prices in the second week of June due to plant outages.

“Ito ang period na nagkaroon tayo ng price spikes because, aside from mataas ang peak demand, maraming mga generators na nag-force outage at maintenance outage (Prices spiked during the period because peak demand was high and many generators experienced outages),” IEMOP Chief Operating Officer Robinson P. Descanzo said. — Adam J. Ang

Leave a Comment