ENERGY Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla hopes no more power plants will bog down on top of the projected 631-megawatt plant outages this month as that might cause rolling blackouts in Luzon.
Petilla said Luzon was entering a “critical period” this month as the Malampaya natural gas facility in northwest Palawan would go on a 30-day maintenance shutdown starting March 15.
Based on projections, he said, Luzon was facing a 200-megawatt power shortage in March on a worst-case scenario, although that could be remedied by the interruptible load program.
“The best case scenario is no brownout. Based on our projection, you have a deficit of 200 megawatts without ILP. With ILP, this will already be covered,” Petilla said.
Under the ILP program, the participating captive customers may be requested to de-load for a period of time and use their own power generating sets to avoid blackouts.
Petilla said blackouts were possible if more power plants would go on unexpected forced outages.
“For March, if demand is as projected, if supply is as projected, and if the forced outages of 631 megawatts is still the same, we’re going to be okay,” Petilla said.
“However, if the forced outages go way beyond 631 megawatts, may be 1,000 megawatts, then we have a problem.”
Petilla said they were also looking at possible “minor glitches” in other plants, like whether the 100-megawatt Millennium power plant would be able to go online on time and whether the 300-megawatt unit of GN Power would be back on the grid.
He said that, based on recent experience, the projected forced outages of power plants had been going up.
For example, he said, the forced outage for January was 300 megawatts but the actual outage was over 700 megawatts. He said the February average also likely doubled, prompting power stakeholders to express concern on the March outlook.
Manila Electric Co. said the ILP dry run on Feb. 18 for four hours showed that the ILP was able to spare over 500,000 consumers from blackouts.
Meralco senior vice president Alfredo Panlilio said about 457 megawatts were de-loaded out of the 617-megawatt committed capacity.