By Lenie Lectura- March 27, 2017
“We are confident that we will not experience any interruption. DOE Secretary [Alfonso G.] Cusi gave us instructions to make sure that we have sufficient plans and activities para masiguro ’yun. So, we have looked into, No. 1, what are the plans that are coming in? The big ones that are coming in are, in April and May, the Limay-Bataan power plants from San Miguel group and aside from that, he [Cusi] also instructed us to look into the scheduled maintenance of the power plants during that period, so we are looking at the 20, but the biggest one is the Pagbilao Unit 1,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella said.
These power plants will undergo maintenance shutdown on separate dates, from April 22 to June 10, this year. He did not identify the 20 power plants.
Fuentebella said supply in Luzon during summer months is over 10,000 megawatts (MW), as against a demand of 9,000 MW to 9,200 MW.
“Yes, we have sufficient reserves. For Mindanao and the Visayas, 2,000 MW each supply. Demand for both is about 1,500 MW. Ganoon din, sufficient din,” Fuentebella added.
The DOE official said state-run Malaya power plant is on standby, in case there is a need for the government to tap it.
“It’s a must-run unit, so, aside from the plants that we are looking into, the Malaya is ready to run. And also, we have a massive campaign for conservation, because the demand side is forgotten sometimes that we play a very important role, the consumers,” Fuentebella added.
Aside from Malaya, there are new power plants recently put up by the private sector. “What I can say is that there are plants that are coming in this summer, we have two units of 150 MW in Limay from San Miguel,” the DOE official said.
The DOE, in a data presented earlier, said the forecast for Luzon’s power reserve for the weeks March 25 to 31, April 1 to 7, April 8 to 14, April 15 to 21, April 22 to 28, April 29 to May 5, May 6 to 12, May 13 to 19, May 20 to June 2, June 3 to 9, June 10 to 16, June 17 to 23, and June 24 to 30 are 2,990 MW, 2,666 MW, 2,435 MW, 2,252 MW, 2,081 MW, 2,157 MW, 1,907 MW, 1,869 MW, 1,872 MW, 1,947 MW, 2,089 MW, 2,429 MW, 2,336 MW and 2,134 MW, respectively.
Fuentebella noted there is enough gross-power reserve in Luzon during the summer months, even as there will be days in May when power supply will be low.
“For the Luzon grid, the NGCP [National Grid Corp. of the Philippines] said the April 22 to 28 week up to the week of June 3 to 9 supply is low. However, this will not trigger a yellow alert. Hindi critical, unless may masira na planta or line-tripping incidents,” Fuentebella said.
A yellow alert is issued by NGCP when contingency reserve is less than the capacity of the largest synchronized unit of the grid. In Luzon this is equivalent to 647 MW, or one unit of the Sual power plant.
Based on the NGCP demand, supply and weekly reserve profile for January to June 2017, the low power supply in Luzon, could occur starting April up to early June this year. Based on data, two weeks in May have the lowest reserve levels, specifically May 13 to 19 and May 20 to 26, where gross reserves were placed at 1,859 MW and 1,872 MW, respectively.
Availability capacity is expected to reach 11,589 MW for May 13 to 19, and 11,492 MW for May 20 to 26, compared to demand of 9,730 MW and 9,620 MW, respectively.
The Visayas is expected to register low-power supply in the June 3 to 9 week, but the DOE official is not worried because the Luzon and the Visayas grids are interconnected. “…Visayas is interconnected with the Luzon grid, so it can import power from Luzon when needed,” Fuentebella said.
On the other hand, there is excess power supply in Mindanao. “With so much supply, there is a need to increase the demand or the load. This is a signal for economic zones and big business to go there,” he added.