Optimizing Weather Knowledge for Business Development and Stakeholder Management

Emmanuel V. Rubio Executive Vice President and COO Power Generation Group

Emmanuel V. Rubio
Executive Vice President and COO Power Generation Group

As a responsible power generator providing a basic service, AboitizPower has to ensure that all of its power plants are running efficiently 24/7, with zero casualty and minimal shutdowns even during natural calamities such as typhoons.

To get a bird’s eye view of AboitizPower’s business continuity strategy, WeatherPhilippines interviewed Emmanuel V. Rubio, Chief Operations Officer of the Power Generation Group.

WeatherPhilippines: What role does weather play in the power business?

 EVR: Core to our strategy in AboitizPower is to identify key risks in running the generation business.

 Weather is one of the significant risks we have identified. It affects hydrology which is critical to our hydropower facilities. We are also exposed to calamities and diverse weather conditions brought on by climate change.

Some of the mitigations to address this is to have a better way of forecasting weather situations. That is why tying up with WeatherPhilippines is a our strategy so we can have the tools to properly forecast weather conditions in a timely basis. Our business units have business continuity plans (BCP) and a significant part of those plans relies on accurate weather forecasts within a time frame that allows us to execute mitigations to minimize risks in our operations.

WeatherPhilippines: May we know how AboitizPower monitors our weather data?

EVR: During our Weather 101 with WeatherPhilippines, we were informed that the accuracy of the forecast gets exponentially higher the closer the typhoon approaches the location of our power plants. So we regularly monitor the weather forecasts and storm tracks provided by WeatherPhilippines especially when the typhoon nears landfall.

WeatherPhilippines: Aside from the Weather 101 trainings for the company, what were the other factors that influenced your monitoring strategy? Do you have any significant game-changing weather-related experiences in the power industry?

EVR: There were lessons learned from Yolanda, definitely. But in our experience, Glenda hit AboitizPower the hardest, affecting a significant number of our operating facilities, causing damage to some of our equipment. It could have been worse had we not implemented emergency measures. We relied on WeatherPhilippines for timely forecasts and made decisions based on their updates.

To be better prepared, we have included in our BCP a regional response coordination element, and it will be triggered based on information we get from WeatherPhilippines.

WeatherPhilippines: It’s good to know that the Automated Weather Stations (AWS) and its data are helping you make well-informed decisions to mitigate key risks during typhoons. But aside from utilizing weather data for BCP, does localized weather information also help you create competitive advantage?

EVR: Yes, it does because hydrology plays a significant role in the way we forecast our generation for our hydro facilities.

On the commercial side, accurate forecasts on inflows and rainfall help us trade our capacities to the market. It gives us forward planning for production.

On a social context, the historical weather data helps us manage and operate better the reservoirs on dams where we are responsible to provide operations and maintenance services during normal conditions.

WeatherPhilippines: With regards to the National Power Corporation (NPC) taking over the dams in 2015, you utilized weather data for an initiative that would make the transition easier and more sustainable for NPC. We can see that the social aspect is deeply embedded in how AboitizPower conducts its business. Aside from this project, did you have other engagements with your other key stakeholders in which weather was involved?

EVR: Yes. As part of our corporate social responsibility, we provide host communities with weather stations to also help them prepare in times of severe weather disturbances.

Aside from installing AWS in their sites, we organize Weather 101 trainings with WeatherPhilippines so our host communities are well-prepared for typhoons. We also work hand in hand with them on disaster preparedness.

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