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DOE assures power supply stability during Malampaya maintenance next year

Malampaya natural-gas facility in the West Philippine Sea.

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MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Energy (DOE) has assured power supply stability when the Malampaya natural-gas facility undergoes maintenance on Jan. 28 to Feb. 16 next year.

“Malampaya maintenance activities should pose no substantial impact to the supply of electricity by using all available resources and remedies,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement issued Thursday.

He pointed out that the department and industry stakeholders have made preparations before the actual shutdown to safeguard energy consumers from the possible impact of the maintenance on supply and prices of electricity.

The department will ensure that the maintenance schedule is followed, Cusi said, adding that operator Shell Philippines Exploration Corp. (SPEx) has a track record of completing its projects on time.

SPEx cited that the maintenance work will cover the repair of sub-sea facilities, upgrades on the platform and maintenance on the onshore plant in the West Philippine Sea.

Meanwhile, distribution utility Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has estimated that the generation charge will increase by PHP1 per kilowatthour in March power bills due to the shutdown.

“There will be an increase, but what we will do is to minimize the increase to soften the burden to our consuming public,” Cusi added.

The department further said the 600-megawatt Ilijan natural gas power plant in Batangas will coincide its maintenance shutdown to "cost-efficiently use the Malampaya down time period" to ensure power reserves during summer.

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