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Double whammy: Water, power lack

Concessionaires set 6-18 hours of service cuts; brownouts loom

Residents and businesses in Metro Manila and most of Luzon are facing a double whammy of a water shortage and unstable power supply in the coming weeks owing to the lingering effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon.

Double whammy: Water, power lack
EVIL EYE. Residents and business in the metropolis are facing two unpleasant things almost at the same time: A man, symbolizing hundreds of thousands, fetching water in R-10 Vitas in Tondo, Manila (above) with service interruptions following low water supply from Angat Dam in Bulacan (far right below) with the National Grid Corporation placing the Luzon grid on red alert from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. Norman Cruz
The two private water concessionaires serving Metro Manila have started water service interruptions due to the low supply from the Angat Dam in Bulacan.

READ: 'Conserve water, save Angat Dam'

Maynilad Water Services Inc. said 70 percent of its customers in Metro Manila’s west zone would suffer interruptions of eight to 16 hours.

Assistant vice president Jennifer Rufo said Maynilad would release its schedule of water service interruptions.

On the other hand, the Manila Water Co. Inc. said its customers would suffer eight to 15 hours of interruptions, and said it would release a schedule on its Facebook page.

The National Water Resources Board reduced the allocation to water distributors to 40 cubic meters per second from 46 cms from June 19 to 21.

Meanwhile, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines placed the Luzon grid on red alert from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, the second consecutive day, due to a shortage of power generation capacity.

NGCP reported that available capacity was placed at 10,962 MW compared to peak demand of 11,134 MW. This is the 11th red alert raised by the grid operator for the Luzon grid since January this year.

However, no brownouts occurred as the red alert was lifted later in the day due to lower demand.

NGCP raised the yellow alert in the Luzon grid from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and urged power consumers to exercise prudence in using electricity amid the tight reserves level.

This was the 33rd yellow alert issued by NGCP since January. A yellow alert is raised when the reserves fall below the single biggest power unit in the grid.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, said there should be no red or yellow alerts as this sends the wrong signal to investors.

“It is not a good signal for the business sector because part of their requirement is stable electricity. For all industrialized countries, you have the basic like steel and cement industry, car manufacturing but all of that requires energy and power. If we have red alerts and yellow alerts, who will set up business here?” Gatchalian said.

“It’s not a good signal to the business industries especially if you want to attract foreign investors. So when Congress opens, we will dedicate a hearing for the deliverables of ERC [Energy Regulatory

Commission] and DOE [Department of Energy] when it comes to the accountability of gencos,” he said, referring to the power generation companies.

According to data from the Department of Energy on Tuesday, four power plants with combined dependable capacity of 710 MW are offline while hydropower plants are operating at below capacity. Some power plants are also on continued maintenance.

The 316 MW SLTEC coal plant went on forced outage due to the “tripping of the coal feeder motors caused by ground fault” while unit 2 (150 MW) of the Limay coal plant and SLTEC unit 2 (135 MW) suffered boiler tube leak problem.

The 200-MW Angat hydropower plant is running at zero capacity and the 290-MW San Roque hydro plant is also running only at 238 MW due to low water dam levels. The Angat plant had no water allocation from the National Water Resources Board.

The 120-MW Pantabangan hydro plant is also running at only 45 MW while units 1 to 3 of the Ambuklao hydro plant with a capacity 105 MW is running only at 70 MW also due to low water levels.

READ: PAGASA warns of ‘Ondoy’-type rain despite El Niño

Topics: water shortage , power supply , El Niño weather phenomenon , Angat Dam
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