Marcos calls for PH-wide energy-saving measures

Marcos calls for PH-wide energy-saving measures

Marcos calls for PH-wide energy-saving measures

TIGHT SUPPLY For the second straight day this week, the NGCP placed the Luzon grid under yellow alert from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the Visayas grid from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m on Wednesday PHOTO FROM NGCP

MANILA, Philippines — Electricity supply problems continue to hound Luzon and the Visayas as more than 30 power plants remain shut or are running below capacity due to intense summer heat being made more unbearable by the El Niño dry spell.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has urged the public to adopt energy-saving measures to cut electricity consumption as power supply problems continued to hound Luzon and Visayas on Wednesday after more than 30 power plants remain offline or operating at lower capacities.


In a post on his Instagram account on Tuesday night, the President also instructed the Department of Energy (DOE) to “closely monitor and coordinate with all stakeholders to address the situation.”


READ: Luzon and Visayas grids placed under yellow, red alert

Marcos stressed that amid the recent red and yellow alerts in the Luzon and Visayas grids, “it is crucial that we all work together to ensure a stable power supply for the next couple of days.”

“I have also directed all government offices to set the standard in conserving energy and minimizing power consumption,” the President added.

He then addressed his appeal to the public: “Let’s adopt energy-efficient practices and stand together to overcome this challenge.”

READ: Marcos urges NGCP to complete energy projects on time

The Chief Executive made the call for a whole-of-government approach in the wake of recent red and yellow alerts placed on Luzon and Visayas by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the private operator of the country’s electric transmission backbone.


The NGCP issues a red alert when the power supply is insufficient to meet consumer demand and usually triggers rotating brownouts.

On the other hand, it issues a yellow alert if the operating margin is insufficient to meet the grid’s contingency requirement, but it does not necessarily lead to power outages.

Conservation measures

During the government’s “Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” television program, Energy Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan also appealed to electricity end users to conserve energy to preserve the integrity of the country’s power system and manage electricity consumption “to avoid rotational brownout or widespread outage.”

The DOE earlier urged consumers to turn off lights and unplug appliances when not in use, and avoid whenever possible the use of high-energy consuming devices such as air conditioners and elevators to manage limited supply.

“While we continue to monitor and ask our power plant operators to work on restoring full operations, we can maximize our energy efficiency efforts as we go through this period of extreme heat,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said earlier.

“Flexible work arrangements and other conservation measures would also be helpful. The extremely high temperatures have been affecting the operations of power plants in the grid,” he added.

The agency also encouraged industrial and commercial establishments to reduce the usage of electricity during peak hours to help alleviate the impact of a tight supply.

Extended yellow alert

For the second straight day this week, NGCP placed the Luzon grid under yellow alert from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the Visayas grid from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m on Wednesday.

In Luzon, 1,969.3 megawatts (MW) of supply was unavailable to the grid as 18 power plants were still on forced shutdown while three others were operating at lower capacities.

On the other hand, 13 power facilities were unavailable while in the Visayas and five others were running at limited capacities, taking out 698 MW of supply.

The NGCP said two power plants have resumed operations: the 150-MW Unit 2 of Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp.’s coal-fired facility and the 264-MW Sta. Rita power plant, both in Batangas province.

According to NGCP, the available capacity in Luzon was 13,607 MW, but demand was seen to peak at 12,874 MW, while in Visayas, the available capacity was 2,713 MW and peak demand at 2,523 MW.

The Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc., a group of companies engaged in power generation, said the majority of power plants that went offline were hydropower plants due to low water levels caused by the El Niño dry spell.

As a precaution, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, said it had advised Interruptible Load Program (ILP) participants to be on standby in case NGCP issued a red alert notice.

The ILP is a voluntary, demand-side management program of the Energy Regulatory Commission wherein big Meralco customers are requested to use their own generator sets instead of relying on electricity from the grid. Participants are also compensated for any price difference should they use their own generators.

“(On Tuesday), Meralco’s big-load customers under the ILP collectively de-loaded around 300 MW. This helped ease the demand and spared households from widespread power interruptions,” Meralco said in a statement.

Summer peak demand

Based on historical data, electricity consumption rises during the summer season. For this year, this demand is seen to surge as households increase the use of cooling appliances because of the El Niño phenomenon.

Yet, amid the dry spell being projected as early as last year, the DOE repeatedly assured the public of sufficient power supply to tide the archipelago through this season.

The DOE said power plants with a total capacity of 300 MW, mostly renewable energy projects in Luzon, would go online in time for this year’s summer months.

Among these are several hydropower projects with a total capacity of 20 MW, a 29-MW geothermal project and solar power projects that can produce 104 MW.

Unit 1 of the Mariveles coal-fired power plant in Bataan province, which could generate 150 MW, would also be commissioned during this period, the DOE added.

“Based on our monitoring and assessments, we do not expect any shortage in electricity supply and the current demand has not yet reached our projected peak demand this year,” Marasigan said earlier.

Back in February this year, Lotilla also assured the public that the country had adequate supply and Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said the DOE was not anticipating the declaration of red or yellow alerts based on their projections.

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“The only possible thing that might happen is that you might have to run the more expensive plants [and] electricity rates will increase. But then this is better than having no electricity at all,” Guevara said earlier. —WITH REPORTS FROM CARLA GOMEZ AND NESTLE SEMILLA

TAGS: El Niño, Luzon grid, NGCP, Visayas grid

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