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.