No brownouts? DOE expects better power situation during rainy season

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021   •   592

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) has assured residents in Luzon that there is no need to fear power outages on Monday after the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) raised a yellow alert over Luzon grid.

The NGCP on Monday morning placed the Luzon grid under the second highest alert due to reduced net operating margin after the operating requirement stood at 11,344 megawatts (MW) against the available capacity of 11,760 MW.

According to Energy Undersecretary Felix Fuentebella, the yellow alert status was raised after a power plant encountered some problems.

“Meron tayong yellow alert ‘pag nagkakaroon ng manipis, hindi naman siya kulang, pero manipis iyong supply,” he said during the Laging Handa public briefing. “Yellow alert means wala tayong aasahan na rotational brownout or power interruption.”

“We are expecting anytime soon, kung walang madadagdag pang aberya sa ibang planta, all things go well, as planned, mali-lift na po ‘yong yellow alert. So wala tayong masyadong dapat ipangamba,” he added.

The NGCP later lifted the yellow alert “due to sufficient generating capacity.”

Fuentebella said the DOE is expecting a better power situation in the country in the coming weeks due to declining demand amid the rainy season.

“Pababa na po ang demand, ibig sabihin po niyan ay nagkakaroon na ng mas malamig na panahon, medyo cloudy po ngayon kaya mas bumababa po ang paggamit natin ng kuryente,” he said.

“At dahil po diyan ay we anticipate a better scenario for our country and for the power system,” he added.

Earlier this month, parts of Luzon experienced power outages due to a shortage in energy supply after several plants went offline.

The DOE earlier said that Luzon grid might still be placed under yellow or red alert levels until July due to the scheduled maintenance activities of some power plants.

Energy chief Cusi questions NGCP warning on possible low supply during hotter months

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2022

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi has asked the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to present the steps it has taken following its warning of possible brownouts during the dry season.

In a statement, Cusi questioned the NGCP’s warning when it should be ensuring adequate power supply to address this “annual occurrence.”

“Increased demand for power during our hotter months, and reduced supply during these same dry months is an annual occurrence, and as System Operator and Grid Operator, the NGCP is very much aware of this cycle,” he said.

“So, what is NGCP doing about it?” he asked.

It can be recalled that on Tuesday, the NGCP issued a warning about the possibility of a thin energy supply during the months of April to June due to increase in demand.

The grid operator also appealed to policymakers to immediately explore demand-side management strategies to alleviate possible power supply issues, especially at or around the time of the national and local elections in May.

Cusi said the DOE is “spearheading efforts to bring the power industry together to work toward a wholistic solution.”

“The NGCP is expected to perform their responsibilities that contribute to the adequacy of supply, and more so this year as we will be holding national elections this summer,” he added.

The Energy chief said the department is “very interested to hear from them about the steps they have taken, or are taking, to address the situation, particularly in preventing the occurrence of a power interruption.”

He also asked the NGCP if it has ensured the following:

  • That all capacities at all power stations are available;
  • That all available capacities are connected;
  • That all congestion issues are addressed;
  • That the Grid Operating Maintenance Program (GOMP) was thoroughly planned;
  • That reserves are contracted from a separate pool of capacity for ancillary services which we can tap in cases of emergency.

“I have already instructed our Power Bureau to look into these matters,” Cusi said.

NGCP warns of possible thin power supply this summer

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Tuesday warned about the possibility of a thin energy supply during the dry season due to high demand.

In a statement, the NCGP said the Department of Energy (DOE) forecast total peak demand of 12,387 MegaWatts (MW) for Luzon to occur in the last week of May, or a 747MW increase from the actual 2021 peak load of 11,640MW which occurred on May 28, 2021.

“Thin operating margins (power in excess of demand, which is used to manage and balance the grid) is forecasted in the Luzon grid from April to June due to increase in demand during the summer, which includes the critical election period,” the power transmission operator said.

For the Visayas, the NGCP said the actual peak demand occurred on December 13, 2021 at 2,252 MW, lower than the projected peak demand at 2,528MW.

For Mindanao, the forecast peak demand is at 2,223MW, higher than the actual peak demand at 2,144 MW recorded on August 4, 2021.

The NGCP said it coordinates the preparation and submission to the DOE of an annual Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP), which is the consolidated preventive maintenance schedules of power plants, considering the needed supply to meet the projected demand. The 2022 GOMP was approved by the DOE on 10 January 2022.

In compliance with the directive of the DOE, the grid operator said no maintenance shutdowns were scheduled during the summer months.

“NGCP, in compliance with its mandate, coordinated with the generation and distribution sectors so that we could optimize and rationalize our own maintenance schedules, to ensure sufficiency, at least on paper, of power supply throughout the year,” the company said.

However, as early as January, some generating units extended their maintenance shutdowns while others derated to decrease their committed generation output.

As a result, yellow alerts were issued on January 10 and 11, the NGCP said.

A yellow alert is issued when the excess power is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement, pegged at the time at about 495MW and 647MW respectively.

“On paper, there appears to be sufficient supply to meet demand; but the plan on paper, the GOMP, is not always followed. It is when there are unscheduled shutdowns and derations, and extensions of maintenance duration, that grid operations may be disrupted enough to warrant the issuance of a grid alert status,” the NGCP said.

“As the transmission service provider, NGCP can only give an overview of the current supply and demand situation, and endeavor to dispatch any and all available grid resources. It cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation,” it added.

A red alert status is issued when supplies are insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement.

Red alerts were issued over the Luzon Grid on 31 May and 01-02 June 2021 when a similar round of extended and unplanned maintenance shutdowns and derations occurred, depleting excess supplies and leading to rotational power interruptions implemented across the entire Luzon.

To alleviate possible power shortages, NGCP appeals to policymakers to immediately explore demand-side management strategies to mitigate any possible power supply issues in the coming summer months, especially at or around the time of the national and local elections in May.

ERC orders implementation of relaxed payment of electric bills

Maris Federez   •   December 24, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has directed distribution companies to give their customers in areas ravaged by Typhoon Odette ample time in settling their electric bills.

This is to help the typhoon victims recover from the effects of Odette’s devastation.

ERC Commissioner Floresinda Baldo-Digal said this includes relaxing disconnection notices to those who may not be able to pay on time at least within the next two months.

“Makakasama na ‘yan diyan yung hindi muna sila magdi-disconnect agad-agad dahil hindi mababayaran yung bayarin ngayong Disyembre at hanggang Enero,” Digal said.

“So, sa pag-iimplementa, sila na ang maaaring magbigay ng detalye niyan sa kanilang consumer. Pero basically that will be relaxation of the disconnection policy and at the same time, yung payment na hindi mababayaran on time, bayaran in a later time without penalty and interest,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy is expecting that more areas in the ravaged regions will be energized over the weekend.

Energy Undersecretary Wimpy Fuentebella said over 1,400 personnel from the power sector have been deployed in various parts of the typhoon-hit areas for restoration efforts.

“Magkakaroon sila ng energization doon through island operation utilizing internal yung mga embedded power generators doon by December 31,” he said.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said they have restored 82% of the affected transmission lines.

However, restoring the lines in Bohol remains a challenge as two special towers interconnecting the province and Leyte were toppled.

Randy Galang, head of the NGCP Engineering Project Management Department, explained that the bulk of the generation supply in Bohol comes from the main grid in the Leyte area.

“Right now, ongoing po yung pag-aaral kung ano ang pinakamahusay na paraan para mapalitan itong mga towers na ‘to at makumpuni natin yung transmission service ng NGCP,” Galang said.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) also reported that over 1 million of the 3 million affected households from downed electric cooperatives have been energized.

“As we speak, we have energized some little more than 1.01 million, so it’s about 30%. And we have a remaining of around 2.5 million to be energized as far as households are concerned,” said Butch Silvano of NEA’s Total Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Department.

The NGCP, meanwhile, said 17 transmission lines in five areas that were heavily battered by Typhoon Odette are still for restoration. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)


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