Transmission operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines on Friday called on the power industry to help address the impending supply shortage in Luzon this year.
“Thin operating margin is forecasted in the Luzon grid from April to August 2021 due to multiple power plants on extended outage, thereby providing limited power supply,” NGCP said in a statement.
NGCP said power plants were on extended outages due to technical limitations brought about by the pandemic, such as delay in the delivery of materials or spare parts, temporary work stoppage and travel restrictions.
NGCP maintains an annual grid operating and maintenance program that schedules the preventive maintenance of power plants, taking into consideration the needed supply vis-a-vis projected demand.
“We continue to urge the authorities to look into this impending power situation in Luzon during this summer season. As the transmission service provider, NGCP can only guarantee the dispatch of all and any available grid resources. It cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation,” NGCP said.
The Department of Energy earlier predicted a total peak demand of 11,841 megawatts for Luzon to in May, up 7 percent from the 2020 peak load of 11,103 MW on March 9, 2020. For Visayas and Mindanao, peak demand for both regions occurred in January 2020, and not during the usual months of November or December because of the effect of the pandemic.
Visayas is forecasted to have a peak demand of 2,394 MW and Mindanao, 2,098 MW, higher than the peak demand of 2,201 MW and 1,977 MW in 2020, respectively.
NGCP said the projected shortage might not occur, if the forecasted peak demand this year would not be realized as a result of the quarantine restrictions placed in several parts of the country, particularly Metro Manila which is the load center of the Luzon grid, and assuming no further plant outages would occur during the period.
NGCP said the Luzon grid needed around 4 percent of the peak demand, or around 475MW in regulating power to stabilize the grid.
It also needs to maintain power equivalent to the largest plant online of about 647 MW as contingency power to support the grid in case of an emergency power plant shutdown.
It said that once the net operating margin fell below these numbers, it would issue grid alert notices. To certain conditions, this would mean implementation of manual load dropping or rotating power interruptions to protect the integrity of the power grid.
NGCP asked the public to use electricity efficiently and help prevent any occurrence of power interruptions because of the lean supply in the summer months.
Meanwhile, power distributor Manila Electric Co. said it continued to work with the rest of the energy sector to monitor the power supply situation, especially during summer, and to make the necessary preparations.
Meralco vice president and spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said the Luzon grid was on “white” status, indicating that there is adequate reserve in the grid despite the almost 1,0000MW increase in grid demand from February to March.
Meralco said that in March, capacity on outage averaged 3,400 MW, up from 2,000 MW a year ago.
“But just in case the Luzon grid will be placed on red alert due to power plant outages, Meralco has measures in place to ensure continued, reliable service to our customers,” Zaldarriaga said.
He said Meralco continued to reach out to partner customers to implement the Interruptible Load Program and augment the power supply needed in households in Luzon.
“ILP serves as an option for DUs like Meralco and electric cooperatives to ask their big load customers to serve their own power needs by using their own generator sets in the event that all available mechanisms implemented to ensure supply are not enough to cover the demand for electricity,” he said.
“In the past, when needed, Meralco has asked our partner establishments to turn on their power generators whenever a shortage in supply is experienced, instead of drawing power directly from the grid,” Zaldarriaga said.