The Department of Energy on Wednesday assured consumers that there will be no power outages during the dry months despite the earlier forecasts of red alerts in the Luzon grid.
Energy officials said, however, yellow alerts in the Luzon grid may be raised in certain weeks of April and May, reflecting the thin power reserves on the extended outages of several power plants.
“Given these extended outages, we can see in the profile that there is a possibility of yellow alerts during the week of 15 and week of 18, that is second week of April until first week of May,” Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola said.
The agency said the government is on top of the situation and took the necessary actions to ensure energy security this summer as instructed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
“We will have sufficient supply as long as there will be no more outages that will happen,” Delola said.
Latest data showed that some 3,700 megawatts of total capacity in Luzon were offline, including 1,719 MW on forced outage.
“Of course, barring anything unforeseen…if there are forced outages that can happen along the way that we can’t control, if we have a high level of forced outage then maybe we will experience some alerts, but based on what we are seeing now, as long as there is no substantial level of forced outage, the coming weeks or coming months we don’t expect any problem in terms of demand,” Delola said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission to look into the reported unplanned outages of some power plants in Luzon that recently triggered a spike in electricity bills.
Gatchalian also urged the DOE to address any logistical concerns faced by some power producers to prevent similar occurrences in the coming weeks as this might jeopardize the COVID-19 vaccine rollout which would go on full blast from May to June.
Delola said the previously projected peak demand of 11,841 MW in May might not happen because of low demand.
He said the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines, the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, was expecting demand at 10,511 MW.
“But even if we hit 11,841 MW, we will have sufficient level of reserves,” he said.
The updated 2021 power outlook provided by grid operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines dated April 14 showed that the Luzon grid would no longer have red alerts, but only yellow alerts during certain weeks in April, May and June.
Cusi asked his team to continue monitoring the actual day-to-day peak demand closely in comparison with the projected demand as a basis for coordination efforts.
“Again, I remind everyone of our commitment to the people to provide reliable and stable power supply. We should extend this beyond the summer months because the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program has been rolled out. We must protect the vaccine cold storage and healthcare facilities,” Cusi said.