DOE eyes stable power reserves as demand dips on Holy Week

MANILA – The Luzon grid’s electricity reserves are expected to register higher this week as power plants that went on unplanned outages are expected to resume operations, even while energy officials remain mum on the likely power situation next week.

In a briefing Monday, Department of Energy (DOE) undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said Unit 3 of the Pagbilao Energy Corporation (PEC) and Unit 2 of the SMC Consolidated Power Corporation (SMCCPC) are expected to go back online on April 16 while Unit 1 of Team Energy Corporation’s Sual Power Plant is expected to resume operations on April 17.

“We’re okay until Easter Sunday because demand is low and several power plants will be back on operations. After that we should be okay but if there are plants that will have forced outages again that’s the problem,” he said.

Fuentebella, however, stressed that it is in close coordination with the power regenerators and other stakeholders.

“We make sure that we are coordinated with our regulators also — the ERC (Energy Regulatory Corporation), the PCC (Philippine Competition Commission), the OP (Office of the President) and even Congress,” he said.

The Luzon grid has been running on low reserves for several days now, which Fuentebella attributed to the unplanned outages of several power plants.

To date, these are the Unit 2 of SMCCPC in Limay, Bataan; Unit 1 of the Sual Power Plant; Unit 2 of Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation in Calaca, Batangas; and Unit 3 of PEC in Quezon province.

There are also de-rated plants namely the Unit 1 of Masinloc Power Partners Company Ltd., which originally has a 315-megawatt (MW) capacity but is only able to provide 304MW due to a still undisclosed problem, and the Unit 2 of SEM Calaca Power Corporation from 300MW to 200 MW due to half condenser operation.

As a result, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) earlier in the day issued yellow alert for the grid from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., while red alert covers the period from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

It, however, lifted the red alert status at 3:10 p.m. but kept the yellow alert until 8 p.m.

NGCP said that as of 3:10pm, available capacity was placed at 10,750MW while peak demand is projected at 10,204MW. (PNA)


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