Published December 22, 2016, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
Two power plants – Quezon Power and Calaca coal-fired generating units – will be under scheduled maintenance shutdown almost parallel to the shutdown of the Malampaya gas production facility from January 28 to February 16, 2017.
This will then add pressure to supply tightening during the downtime of the gas platform – a scenario that shall be causing further worries to the Department of Energy (DOE).
Power plant shutdowns are scheduled almost a year ahead because such process involves the hiring of even international consultants to supervise prescribed repair activities. The scope of repair works and timelines are well-coordinated with the DOE and system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
According to NGCP, Calaca will be on scheduled shutdown from December 15, 2016 to February 27, 2017; while the Quezon power plant will be on downtime from January 21 to February 17, 2017.
Amid these well-anticipated developments, the energy department has been nudging industry players to ensure stability of power supply on these critical periods, so consumers would not suffer unwarranted power interruptions.
As stressed by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, “my directive was clear – the Malampaya maintenance activities should pose no substantial impact to supply of electricity by using all available resources and remedies, because power is a basic necessity for our countrymen.”
The energy department, he said, has already “started preparatory activities jointly with industry stakeholders to safeguard energy consumers from possible impact on supply and prices of electricity supply.”
Cusi said their comfort level at least lies in the fact that “historically, SPEX completed its maintenance period on time.” SPEX is the lead in the consortium operating he Malampaya field.
The DOE is expecting that the field operator will keep its record just the same for this batch of the platform’s maintenance activity which shall cover repair of its subsea facilities, upgrades on the platform and maintenance on the onshore plant.
The other sphere in which the DOE would not have any control of would be on prospective rate hike ensuing from the gas facility’s repair schedule.
As affirmed, the cost impact on the customers of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) when billed in March could be as much as P1.00 per kilowatt hour.