The Department of Energy (DOE) said on Monday that the Luzon grid could enter another yellow alert status or experience low reserves if rising demand continues to put the grid at risk for brownouts.
The anticipated situation was attributed to the ongoing maintenance shutdown undertaken by a few power plants in Luzon.
Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada said that the yellow alert condition only means that they have limited or thin reserve power. Based on the outlook for Luzon, yellow alert status will only register in the afternoon as reserve power normalizes in the evening.
“Our team is currently assessing the power supply situation by closely coordinating with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the power plant owners/operators in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to make sure that the generating facilities which are currently on maintenance shutdown will be back online ahead of the election period,” Monsada said.
Because of the maintenance shutdown, 13 units of nine power plants in Luzon have encountered problems, compounded by other sudden maintenance operations that resulted the grid to loose around 1488MW.
According to the NGCP, the Luzon grid was in yellow alert on Monday until 3 p.m.,
which meant the supply was at 9907MW, while the demand was 9108MW, the regulating reserve at 361MW, and net reserve at 438MW.
Monsada pointed out that these planned outages are more on the integrity assessment of the plants to ensure that these are sound and running during the election period.
It was also reported to the DOE that the NGCP has already alerted the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the operator of the 600 MW Malaya Plant, to run the facility to augment the power supply.
Luzon power generating plants undergoing maintenance shutdown are targeted to be back online before the end of April. Expected to be back on stream on Monday April 11 are the 300 MW Calaca Unit 2 which suffered a turbine problem, and TMO Units 5 and 6 totalling 119 MW, which extended their maintenance works. Other plants with scheduled maintenance are the 382 MW Pagbilao Unit 1, 190 MW Magat Hydropower plant, and 145 MW San Roque Unit 3.
For the Visayas, the geothermal power plants operated by EDC are still undergoing maintenance since January. The Visayas Grid has normal reserve level throughout the day except in the evening where drop in output can be attributed to reduced capacities from solar power generating plants.
Meanwhile, the 150 MW Therma South, Inc. plant, which is on forced outage, is already undergoing assessment to immediately restore the needed power supply capacities in Mindanao, which is now on red alert. Moreover, the 35 MW Pulangui Unit 4 will be back online before April ends.
As part of the Power Task Force Election 2016, the DOE remains keen on ensuring that power supply in the country will be adequate, reliable and stable for the entire summer period, especially during the May 9 elections.