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Monday, May 27, 2024

Power supply to stabilize this weekend, says DOE

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The Department of Energy (DOE) expects the Luzon and Visayas power situation to improve this weekend with the expected resumption of operation of major power plants.

“We don’t know when the extreme high temperatures will end, what we need to do is make sure we are prepared. The DOE is in close coordination with power plants who go online. We are expecting improvements over the weekend. We already saw two major plants go back online and we hope that the other plants remain unaffected and perform to their optimal performance,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.

The two units of the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant is expected to come online on Saturday. Power demand is also lower during weekends when offices are schools are closed.

Lotilla said higher temperatures have affected the operations of both thermal and hydro power plants, thus affecting available supply.

Lotilla also asked for cooperation so that new power plants can be built without delays.

“We must encourage construction of new power plant sand everyone can help. Some power plants are facing delays because of permits. Oftentimes, there has also been opposition even to RE plants, and also in finishing the transmission lines,” Lotilla said.

“These are all important elements. If there are delays in these, it is ourselves who suffer. It is important that power plant constructions are facilitated. We have seen opposition in the LNG (liquefied natural gas) plants, needed to increase the RE,” Lotilla said.

Lotilla said Department is also coordinating with participants of the interruptible load program and the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to ensure that they have adequate fuel supply.

The ILPs deloaded from the grid to reduce demand thus helping Meralco avoid outages in its franchise area.

“Through our Oil Industry Management Bureau, we have alerted the oil companies so that we can ensure their customers of adequate fuel supply,” Lotilla said.

The Luzon and Visayas grids experienced four days of consecutive red and yellow alerts due to insufiicient generating capacity.

The system operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines placed the Luzon grid on red alert on Friday from 3PM to 4PM, 6PM to 10PM and yellow alerts from 12NN to 3PM, 4PM to 6PM and 10PM to 11PM.

NGCP said 19 power plants are on forced outage, while three are running on derated capacities for a total of 2,284.3 megawatts unavailable to the grid.

A red alert status is issued when power supply is insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement.

A yellow alert is issued when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s contingency requirement.

Lotilla said consumers would have to wait next month for the impact of the alerts to power rates but said the imposition of the secondary price cap will help temper spikes in the electricity spot market due to the alerts.

“We have to encourage more power supply to be delivered in the system and we have to review this secondary price cap. At the end of the day, what is more costly to the consumers is the lack of power and not the power rates,” Lotilla said.

The DOE earlier reported that roughly 1,811 megawatts (or more than double the losses on average in the last four years) have been wasted due to unplanned outages of numerous power plants this week due to red and yellow alerts in the Luzon and Visayas grid.

DOE-Electric Power Industry Management Bureau executive director Irma Exconde said the forced outages resulted in an average of 700 megawatts of power supply lost which she described as unprecedented.

“There is an assumption [of supply to be lost] for the forced outages based on the average of the past four years. The average for similar situation in the last four years is 700 megawatts. But on April 16, the forced outages were at 1,811 megawatts. That is more than double.”

“That is one of the causes why we have these alert notices. The operating margin is below the 4% demand and at times below also in the largest unit operating in the grid,” she added.

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