Power, fuel demand not seen to recover

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    Demand for power and fuel are not likely to recover this year with the resurgence of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, according to Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corp. (SMC)

    SMC owns Petron Corp. which has the biggest market share among local oil players, and San Miguel Power Corp. which has the second biggest share in installed generating capacity at 4,856 MW.

    In a virtual briefing with reporters yesterday, Ang said the oil industry “looks sad,” adding that “this year will not really improve compared to last year.”

    “For fuel business to improve, people should be allowed to travel by cars, by plane or by vessels. (However,) travel may be not feasible up to next year. If nobody can travel even next year, demand will still be down,” Ang said.

    He said with the surge in infection, the expected higher demand for power this summer may not be as significant.

    He said this is aggravated by the big surplus in supply.

    Even with the election season coming up, Ang does not see a significant improvement in the consumption of food and services.

    “Maybe spending will boost a little bit but you will not see it like before when during election, demand for beer, food and transportation really improves. Likewise, the campaign period may be limited as well as the resources,” Ang added.

    Ang urged government to fasttrack the release of permits required for the private sector to bring in vaccines, saying inoculation of workers will greatly help in the reopening of the economy without the fear of causing another surge in COVID-19 cases.