El Niño to trigger brownouts– DOE

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THE dry spell that is expected to last until early next year may lead to brownouts because dams that power hydroelectric plants could run dry, the Department of Energy (DOE) warned on Monday.

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Zenaida Monsada, Officer-in-Charge of the DOE, said Mindanao will be the hardest hit because it is dependent on hydroelectric plants.

“We still have rains so most of our dams are filled. The indication is that Luzon and Visayas won’t be affected that much. We see Mindanao being affected worse by the end of the year and the first quarter of next year,” she said.

Monsada noted that while the projected power supply for 2016 at 13,300 megawatts exceeds the demand at 12,000 MW, this projection may change because of the prolonged El Niño.

“It would be difficult to say categorically that we won’t have any brownouts because we still have to factor El Niño and our dams being shared for agriculture, electricity, drinking water and household consumption. We will have a new set of projections because of the El Niño…find out how extensive [it would be], which areas are going to be affected,” she told members of the House Committee on Appropriations. Monsada was at the House of Representatives yesterday to seek approval of the DOE’s proposed P1.8 billion budget fir 2016.

The projected available power supply for Luzon next year is 9,800 MW against an 8,900 MW demand. Visayas, meanwhile, has a projected power supply of 1,800 MW against a 1,600 MW demand. For Mindanao, the projected 2016 power supply is 1,700 MW and demand is 1,500 MW.

“Mindanao could be impacted with El Niño because of its heavy reliance on hydro energy sources. But for Luzon, we’ll be okay provided there are no unforeseen forced outages. Malampaya is well because of the installation of its compression platform, and Mindanao coal plants are expected to be of service soon. We see that we’ll have enough, considering the historical performances [of the power plants],” Monsada said.

“Overall, the supply, including the reserves, can meet the demand,” she added.

She said while the water level in Ambuklao dam in Benguet has risen, Angat dam’s water level continues to dwindle, prompting government officials to call on Metro Manila residents to conserve water.

Angat dam supplies 90 percent of the water needs of the metropolis.

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