No outages seen around election day – DOE
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) assured worried Filipinos on Wednesday that there will be no power outages when the nation goes out to vote on election day four days hence.
“We see that there will be no brownout during the election time,” Michael Sinocruz, director of the DOE’s Energy Policy and Planning Bureau, said in a virtual forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and its Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee.
“For now, we have enough supply until election,” Sinocruz said. “There could be yellow alert maybe after the election but not during the election.”
While demand for electricity is significantly low on nonworking days, Sinocruz said power reserves may get thin and prompt the yellow alert, which may also lead to rotational brownouts.
The DOE projected electricity demand to peak at 12,387 megawatts in Luzon, higher than the actual peak demand of 11,640 MW recorded on May 28, 2021, hence, the agency is not expecting a supply shortage during the critical period of summer and election.
For the Visayas grid, the projected peak demand is at 2,528 MW, also higher than the actual peak demand of 2,252 MW recorded on Dec. 31, 2021, but the energy department predicted a “normal” reserve level in the region during that period.
A normal supply situation and a sufficient reserve level are also anticipated in Mindanao, which has had an oversupply of power in the past years.
Electricity demand in the region is pegged at 2,223 MW, greater than the actual peak demand of 2,144 MW logged on Aug. 4, 2021.
The DOE also made the assurance as generation companies are prohibited from conducting any preventive maintenance and testing of generating units one week before and after election day.
But the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the country’s grid operator, had warned of a thin power supply as early as January this year and had been asking government agencies to manage their power consumption to help prevent unplanned outages.
“While on paper, there seems to be just enough supply to meet the demand on those days, the possibility of unplanned shutdowns, which we’ve seen more of in the previous years, may lead to power interruptions, as it did in May 31 and June 1, 2021,” said NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza in a Viber message.
NGCP earlier appealed to declare May 9 to May 11 as holidays to ensure sufficient electricity, with Alabanza saying demand for power on nonworking days is substantially lower than on weekdays.
Alabanza said on April 27, demand declined by 1,000 MW from the previous week. Also, on May 1, electricity demand was 2,700 MW lower than the Wednesday previous.
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