DOE: More rotating brownouts possible

Published by rudy Date posted on May 18, 2014

The DOE said brownouts were still a possibility, depending on supply and condition of power plants

MANILA, Philippines – Following rotating brownouts in some areas of Luzon last week, the Department of Energy (DOE) said the power situation should go back to normal, barring the unexpected shutdown of power plants.

The DOE warned brownouts might still occur because of tight supply.

This comes as weather officials record rising temperatures all over the country, with this week projected to be the hottest time of the month.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said the country’s power supply depends on the condition of power plants.

“The supply situation will depend on the reliability of running plants. There should be no brownout if they don’t bog down,” Petilla said.

On Friday, May 16, unit 1 of the Pagbilao coal power plant in Quezon broke down, cutting out 375 megawatts (MW) of power in the Luzon grid and causing brownouts in portions of Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas in Metro Manila, and in Bulacan and Cavite.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) issued a “red alert” over Luzon as demand for power exceeded supply.

The shutdown of Pagbilao worsened the tight supply situation caused by the outage of the Sual plant in Pangasinan. The Sual plant had been out due to repairs.

The DOE said the Pagbilao plant would be restored in a week.

As of Friday, the following power plants were still down: Calaca 2; Sta. Rita; Malaya unit 1; Limay units 6, 7 and 8; TMO; and Sual unit 2.

On Sunday, May 18, Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said Malacañang was monitoring the country’s energy situation.

He said the DOE has been providing regular updates to President Benigno Aquino III about the status of the power plants and supply.

Coloma added, “During the Cabinet meeting, Secretary Petilla gave updates to President Aquino. The President is monitoring the situation closely.”

Power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said around 2% of its over 5 million customers were affected by last week’s brownouts. To help augment power capacity in the Luzon grid, companies participating under the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) volunteered to run their generator sets instead of directly sourcing energy from Meralco.

Under the ILP, commercial establishments with large energy loads are asked to use their generator sets to reduce the aggregate demand for power from the system to a manageable level when supply is tight.

Meralco invited more than 100 companies to participate in the ILP. The power distributor said it was coordinating with the participating companies and the DOE to help ensure the availability of power.

The brownouts happened as the Philippines was set to host the World Economic Forum on East Asia, which would gather over 600 government, private sector and civil society leaders from around 30 participating countries. –

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