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Concerns surrounding insufficient power supply in Luzon were valid since demand typically surges during the dry season as air conditioners run longer.
Boy Santos, file

Energy officials downplay Luzon power outage fears as demand has yet to peak

Ramon Royandoyan (Philstar.com) - April 22, 2021 - 6:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — The energy department sought to downplay power outage concerns in Luzon, saying that demand has yet to peak even as the dry season is already pushing up consumption.

In an online briefing on Wednesday, Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola assured the public that power supply is sufficient until June. The "worst case scenario" for Luzon, Delola said, is if the main island would experience a yellow alert for two periods, which happens when operating reserves drop below the required 647 megawatts. 

“One of those was this week, we didn’t experience it,” he said.

Concerns surrounding insufficient power supply in Luzon were valid since demand typically surges during the dry season as air conditioners run longer. But while demand is expected to get an extra lift from people staying indoors due to retightened coronavirus lockdowns, that would likely be offset by lower consumption from business establishments that were either shuttered or forced to scale down operations.

So far, energy officials are not very much worried about it, saying the country has enough power reserves. At the onset of dry season, demand in Luzon hit 10,543 MW in March and the energy department believes demand in the island is unlikely to hit their projected peak load of 11,841 MW.

This, however, does not mean that the Luzon grid is safe from power interruptions. Currently, seven power plants are facing outages, five of which were forced to shutdown while the rest were were turned off as planned. These outages, in turn, translate to a 1900 MW output loss that could have been used by households and businesses.

But if power outages fears materialized, that would create a big problem for a government that is already criticized for its slow vaccination program. Should that happen, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said cold storage and healthcare facilities must be “protected” to keep the vaccines' potency.

For now, energy officials are hoping that heavy rainfall from La Niña weather phenomenon would temper power demand until June.

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