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Monday, March 4, 2024

Power firms predict tight supply in 2024

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Two of the country’s largest power firms expect a tight supply next year amid an anticipated growth in demand of 600 megawatts (MW) to 700 MW.

Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan said no new large power generation plants would come in next year.

“It’s still gonna be tight, because there is no new power plant except maybe the Excellent plant of San Miguel that’s scheduled to be completed by the end of next year. Its entry is in 2025,” Pangilinan said.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-owned Excellent Energy Resources Inc. is building a 1,700-megawatt combined cycle power plant project in Ilijan, Batangas City.

“It’s always good to have surplus power because this puts permanent pressure on prices, downward. if you don’t have surplus capacity, you will face bouts of tightness which we don’t want to see as a distributor. We want to see good margins of supply to demand,” Pangilinan said.

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Meralco’s peak demand is expected to increase by 2.9 percent in 2023 from the 2022 peak of 8,111.02 MW.

“This 2023, peak demand in Meralco’s system is expected to increase by 2.9 percent. As economic activity normalizes, peak demand is expected to grow annually by an average of 4.3 percent per year from 2022 to 2032,” the company said.

Aboitiz Power Corp. president Emmanuel Rubio also expects higher demand this year that may result in a possible tightness in supply.

“The forecast is El Nino. It is still going to be tight especially during summer, but I think we will have ample supply,” he said.

He said some diesel plants might have to run to meet the increased demand, but the 1,200-MW Ilijan natural gas plant helped boost supply. Diesel plants are more expensive to operate.

The Ilijan plant, also owned by SMC, shifted to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“Maybe there will be times when diesel plants will be dispatched, but it’s good that Ilijan is now running, unlike in early 2022. I think we should be ok,” Rubio said.

He said the hydro power plants should be monitored given the El Nino weather phenomenon.

“In our case the water levels in Magat are still below normal with the El Nino forecast. Hopefully, it will catch up until the end of the year,” Rubio said.

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