Power demand surge worries Palace

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MALACAÑANG is worried that available power supply may not meet the expected surge in demand during the summer months especially if some power plants will shut down for maintenance at the same time.

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Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Sunday said while the Department of Energy (DOE) has assured stable supply during the hot months, outages may occur.

“During the summer season, expectedly the demand will soar because of the heat. The DOE said we still have sufficient supply, unless there will be many scheduled breakdowns [shutdown]of power plants, we will be fine,” the Palace official said.

Last week, officials of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) warned of possible rate hikes and brownouts this summer. It said several power plants will go offline for maintenance, such as the 1,200-megawatt (MW) Ilijan plant of Kepco Philippines Corp. and the San Lorenzo power plant of First Gas Power Corp., which has a capacity of 500 MW.

To prevent a power shortage, the government plans to run the diesel-fired Malaya plant in Rizal to provide additional supply. However, buying electricity from expensive sources such as the Malay plant may force Meralco to increase its billing.

Lacierda said government officials continue to monitor the movement of power prices. He said while there may be rates increases, downward adjustments in power rates ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission would balance the scenario.

Last week, Meralco Chairman Manuel Pangilinan warned of a tight supply in Luzon that may trigger price spikes in the electricity spot market.

“There is a perceived, if not acceptable, narrowing gap between reliable capacity and growing market demand, aging generating plants and increasingly severe climate changes,” Pangilinan said.

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2 Comments

  1. Waterview Sly Fox on

    Another designed price hike by the power oligarchs but this time they’re promising to run Malaya. Still, shutdown of Ilijan and San Lorenzo needs 1,700 MW of replacement and Malaya can only provide ~ 600 MW. So the shortage will still favor the oligarchs reaping higher profits. If you look at what will actually happen, there will be a shortage of 1,200 MW assuming all other plants are healthy. This translate to the power oligarchs being able to dictate the higher rate because they will somehow engineer the WESM clearing price. Is there any logic to not add baseload capacity and just wait each year for the power shortage to milk the people with?

  2. Why these power plants have their scheduled breakdown during summer time when load is at its peak? Why not scheduled this shutdown when demand is at its lowest.
    Seems a very strange kind of maintenance planning …..