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DoE working on backup power for key vaccine sites

THE Department of Energy (DoE) said late Tuesday evening that two of its units are working on providing backup power for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine storage and administration facilities.

In a statement distributed on Viber, Undersecretary and spokesman Felix B. Fuentebella said the department’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) and the Task Force on Energy Resiliency (TFER) are looking at three levels of power supply for facilities deemed critical to the vaccine rollout.

“The first line… is the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the second the Distribution Utilities… The final back up would be the generators provided by the facility itself or the local government unit,” he said in the statement.

Mr. Fuentebella added that a similar approach was used during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which the Philippines hosted.

He provided no further details.

In the same statement, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said that the department will put the entire industry on standby to play a backup role in the vaccine rollout to cooperate, collaborate and participate actively as “backliners” for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Last month, Mr. Cusi directed the EPIMB and TFER to ensure the availability of sufficient power for the dry months, which were then thought to coincide with the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.

Separately, the DoE said in a statement Monday that the industry had remitted P4.39 billion in January, to their respective host local government units (LGUs).

Power companies are required by Energy Regulations (ER) 1-94 to share a portion of their electricity sales with their host communities.

ER 1-94 outlines a sharing scheme of one centavo for every kilowatt-hour (P0.01/kWh) of generating companies’ total sales. Proceeds will finance electrification, livelihood and development projects in the communities.

In April, the DoE allowed ER 1-94 funds to be used in helping LGUs respond to COVID-19. — Angelica Y. Yang

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