Senate urges DOE to explain lack of power supply

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2021   •   210

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Wednesday urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to explain the lack of power supply and why it has not projected power outages.

Senate Committee on Energy Senator Sherwin Gatchalian noted that the DOE previously stated there will not be any shortage in power supply.

“Sa harap ng publiko sa isang pagdinig ng Senate Energy Committee noong nakaraang buwan, nagbitiw ng salita ang DOE na wala silang nakikitang posibilidad na magkakaroon ng kakulangan sa suplay ng kuryente. Kailangang magpaliwanag ang ahensiya kung bakit nangyayari itong yellow alert at red alert,” he said.

(During a hearing with the Senate Energy Committee last month, the DOE said they do not see any possibility that there will be a shortage in power supply. The agency needs to explain why there is now a yellow and red alert.)

Gatchalian reiterated the importance of power supply especially during the coronavirus disease vaccine rollout.

“Just as when the vaccine rollout is now in full swing, the country cannot afford, even for a few minutes, any power interruption as this could have significant implications for vaccine storage,” he said.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines this week announced that several areas in the country, including the Luzon Grid, are under yellow or red alert. Households are also experiencing rotational brownouts. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Red alert sa Luzon power grid, posibleng itaas hanggang sa susunod na linggo — DOE

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Posibleng muling ilagay sa red alert status ang Luzon power grid sa susunod na linggo dahil sa problema sa supply ng kuryente.

Sa pagdinig ngayong Biyernes ng House Committee on Energy, sinabi ng Department of Energy (DOE) na maaaring maging mahigpit pa rin ang supply ng kuryente kung hindi pa magbabalik-operasyon ang alinman sa mga plantang nagsagawa ng emergency maintenance.

“Ano naman yung ating nakikita for the next weeks? Yung end of this week hanggang next week, nakikita na kung walang makakapasok na planta, below the red line pa rin tayo,” ang wika ni Energy Undersecretary Mario Marasigan.

“So kulang pa rin yung ating regulating reserves, magkakaroon pa rin tayo ng red alert,” dagdag pa niya.

Bagaman ilalagay sa yellow alert ang power grid, tiniyak naman ng DOE na hindi na magpapatupad ng rotational brownouts.

Noong Mayo 31, at Hunyo 1 hanggang 2 ay isinailalim sa red at yellow alerts ang Luzon power grid dahil sa mataas na demand at mababang power supply.

Paliwanag ni Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, sapat ang supply ng kuryente bago nangyari ang rotational brownout ngunit nagkasabay ang pagtaas ng demand dahil sa mainit na panahon at pagbagsak ng ilang planta.

Aniya, ang iba sa mga planta sa bansa ay luma na ay kailangan na ng madalas na maintenance.

Nakadagdag pa sa delay ng maintenance ng mga planta ang hindi agad pagdating ng spare parts at technical personnel dahil sa pandemya.

“Ito pong pagkawala, the last 2 days ng supply is because po yung pagka sabay-sabay ng pagkasira nung 4 na malalaking planta po. That we lost around 2,000 megawatts,” ang wika ni Cusi.

Samantala, sinabi naman ng Energy Regulatory Commission na pinagpapaliwanag na nito ang nasa 35 generation companies dahil sa pagdami ng unplanned outages mula buwan ng Enero hanggang Abril ngayong taon.

Ayon kay ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera, 13 sa mga ito ang tumugon sa kanilang direktiba habang ang iba naman ay idinahilan umano ang pagiging luma ng kanilang mga planta at delay sa proseso ng maintenance.

Kasama rin aniya sa iniimbestigahan ng ERC ang posibilidad na sabwatan o pananabotahe sa supply ng kuryente upang pataasin ang presyo nito.

“Kung wala namang maibibigay na ebidensya ay hindi naman namin pwedeng tanggapin yung ganun. So ang nararapat na kaparusahan ay kailangan ipataw naming,” ang wika ni Devanadera.

Sa huling linggo ng Hunyo at sa pagpasok pa ng buwan ng Hulyo inaasahan ng DOE na maibabalik sa normal ang supply ng kuryente kapag nagbalik-operasyon na ang mga nag-shutdown na plant at bumaba na ang konsumo. RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rey Pelayo)

DOH assures COVID-19 jab sites prepared for power outages, heavy rains

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday assured that COVID-19 vaccination sites across the country have contingency measures and protocols in place in case of power outages or heavy rains.

In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said vaccination sites have backup generators to be used in case of power interruptions to ensure the storage and quality of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“Ang ating vaccination sites have been instructed to always be prepared for any type of disasters,” Vergeire said.

If a vaccination site lacks backup generators, this will have to be transferred to bigger facilities within the locality.

“Kung ang vaccination site mo, unang-una walang appropriate backup or option kapag nag-brownout, kailangang ikaw ay lumipat doon sa ating mas malaking vaccination site within the local government or pwede namang humingi ng tulong doon sa regional vaccines operation cluster natin.” she said.

“Meron po tayong mga ganitong pamamaraan para hindi masira ang bakuna,” she added.

Vergeire said regional health authorities have been instructed to inspect vaccination sites and storage facilities within their areas to prepare for the rainy season and possible power outages.

The Luzon power grid this week was placed under red and yellow alerts for three straight days due to the low power supply allegedly brought about by the planned and unplanned shutdown of some power plants.

Energy chief apologizes for Luzon brownouts; says probe on possible collusion underway

Robie de Guzman   •   June 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Thursday apologized for the spate of rotational brownouts that hit parts of Luzon this week.

He assured that the Luzon grid is now in normal system condition and that the current power supply reserves are enough to accommodate the projected demand.

“Normal na po ang supply ng kuryente for today. Ang supply po is more than sufficient to meet the projected demand today,” he said during a Palace media briefing.

“Sa ngayon po, the demand that we projected is at 10,300 megawatts and we have something like 11,600 megawatts of supply. So we have a normal supply today,” he added.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) first placed the Luzon grid under red and yellow alerts on May 31, and then on June 1 and 2 due to low power supply following planned and unplanned outages of some power plants.

“I apologize for the last 2 days na nagkaroon po ng rotating brownouts. Dahil po ‘yon dahil sa sabay-sabay po na nagkaroon po ng breakdown ng apat na plantang malalaki na ang capacity po is 2,017 megawatts,” he said.

“Malaki po ang nawalang supply sa sistema… kaya ganun po, nagkaroon po tayo ng kakulangan at sa init din po ng panahon, tumaas po ang demand natin to more than 11,000 megawatts,” he added.

Cusi, however, noted that the DOE is still monitoring the condition of four power plants that are still on a forced outage. These power plants have a combined capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts.

In a separate advisory, the DOE said Pagbilao Coal-Fired Power Plant Unit 2 (382 MW) is currently on forced outage since June 2 and is expected to return to service on June 6.

GNPower Mariveles Energy Center (GMEC) Coal-Fired Power Plant Unit 2 (316 MW) is also on forced outage since June 1 and is expected to return to service on June 8.

The GNPower Mariveles Energy Center (GMEC) Coal-Fired Power Plant Unit 1 (316 MW), which is on forced outage since February 6, is expected to return to service on August 31.

The Sem-Calaca Coal-Fired Coal-Fired Power Plant Unit 2 (300 MW), which is currently on forced outage since December 3, 2020, is expected to return to service on July 1.

Cusi said he has ordered an investigation into possible collusion among power plants.

“Pinatitingnan na po natin yan sa ating mga tao, and I have asked also po ang tulong ng ERC at ng Philippine Competition Commission to look into the allegation,” he said.

“Pero habang hindi pa po natatapos ang imbestigasyon, hindi pa po tayo makakapagsabi kung ano ba talaga ang nangyari,” he added.

Some senators have earlier pushed for an inquiry into the recent rotational brownouts.

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