3-hour brownouts hit part of Metro Manila
MANILA, Philippines—Several areas in Metro Manila are experiencing power interruptions of up to three hours which began Saturday morning due to outages of several power facilities connected to the Luzon grid. The brownouts were to last until 10 p.m.
In a phone interview on Saturday, Cynthia Alabanza, spokesperson for system operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said that around 1,500 megawatts “fell off the grid due to the emergency shutdown and emergency de-rating of power plants.”
“The NGCP has called in other power plants to augment supply, but even after calling these power plants, there is still deficiency of 500 MW. System demand is expected at 6631 MW, while capacity is only 6154 MW. This is why we have load shedding during peak hours starting 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The areas to be affected will now depend on discretion of distribution utilities,” Alabanza said.
Alabanza declined to provide more details, claiming that identifying the facilities involved could have an impact on power prices at the wholesale electricity spot market.
However, several industry sources said the brownouts could be traced to the outage of a unit at the 1,200 MW Sual coal-fired power plant in Pangasinan. This facility is owned and operated by Team Energy, but its contracted capacity and fuel requirements are being managed by conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
Another cause of the rotating brownouts being implemented by power distributor Manila Electric Co. was a problem at the Malampaya gas field off Palawan, which provides the gas to power three facilities, namely the 1,000-MW Sta. Rita, 500-MW San Lorenzo and the 1,200-MW Ilijan gas plants in Batangas. These three facilities alone provide almost 40 percent of the electricity requirements of the Luzon grid.
It was, however, not made clear what problems were hounding the Malampaya field except that it had caused the de-rating—industry jargon for operating at reduced capacity—of a facility.
It was likewise not announced when power supply could be expected to normalize. Sources however warned that should these outages continue and not be addressed immediately, these may have an impact on power rates next month.
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