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Luzon power supply falls below demand

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 11:00 PM September 08, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Luzon was placed on “red alert” on after its power supply fell by as much as 1,600 megawatts due to forced outages of several critical power plants on the island, and a limited natural gas supply from the Malampaya gas platform.

The critical supply situation however, may continue on Tuesday (Sept. 9) unless the issues are adequately addressed both by the government and the power generation companies.

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In a phone interview, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla explained that due to technical problems, the Malampaya platform could only supply enough natural gas for 1,300 MW compared to the 2,700 MW it used to provide three facilities in Batangas.

The consortium behind Malampaya, however, assured the Department of Energy that operations would normalize on Tuesday (Sept. 9).

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“It’s hard to bet your job on that, but based on our projections, we don’t see any brownouts for Tuesday. That’s barring unforeseen circumstances,” Petilla said, when asked for reassurance regarding the power situation in Luzon.

The red alert on Monday meant that there was insufficient power supply due to the unexpected outages of certain power plants. During the 11 a.m. morning spot peak on Monday, demand stood at 7,703 MW while supply was only 7,338 MW.

The shortage resulted in one-hour rotating brownouts within the franchise area of Meralco. The brownouts affected Sampaloc, Tondo, Grace Park, Malabon, Valenzuela, Novaliches, Kaybiga, Meycauayan, Calumpit, Sta. Maria, Malolos, Malabon and Navotas, Meralco reported.

Mylene Capongcol, director of the electric power industry management bureau at the DOE, said in a separate phone interview that the 1,600 MW decrease in power supply on Monday could be attributed not only to the limited Malampaya gas supply, but also to the forced and planned  outages of some power plants.

Those on forced outages included the Calaca coal facility in Batangas, whose capacity was reduced by 300 MW; Bacon-Manito geothermal plants in Albay and Sorsogon (55 MW); Makban geothermal complex (55 MW); Ilijan natural gas plant (600 MW), and the GNPower coal plant (300 MW).

Those with outages planned included certain units of the Sual coal plant, Kalayaan hydropower facilities and the Limay combined cycle facility.

Capongcol said they expected to be on yellow alert on Wednesday (Sept. 10) after some facilities like Calaca Unit 2 would resume operations.  As a backup measure, the 650-MW Malaya thermal power plant is being prepared for operations on Tuesday.

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A yellow alert means that contingency reserves were less than what was required.

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TAGS: Brownout, Business, Department of Energy, Electricity production and distribution, electricity supply shortage, Jericho Petilla, Luzon, Malampaya gas, power supply shortage
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