Visayas grid still on red alert
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - May 21, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Zero reserves caused the Visayas grid to remain on red alert yesterday after the alert status was raised last Monday.

The National Grid Corp. (NGCP) said the Visayas grid had a system capacity of 1,477 megawatts on Tuesday and a peak demand of 1,522 MW. As a result, some parts of Cebu had a power outage of less than an hour, starting at 1:20 p.m.

“It took 20 to 30,” according to an NGCP source, referring to the manual load drop.

Manual load dropping –when power is rationed – is a process that power distributors implement when supply is insufficient.

The Visayas grid has zero reserves because three power plants went on scheduled shutdown. These are Cebu Energy Development Corp.’s Cebu facility, Panay Energy Development Corp.’s Iloilo unit, and Energy Development Corp.’s Leyte facility. They are expected to be back online this week.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said the Visayas grid will get supply support from the Luzon grid.

The Sual plant, a unit of which went offline Thursday night, is back online, and the Caliraya hydropower plant is being used, he added.

The NGCP, in a statement, said: “Luzon is already supplying around 50 megawatt (MW) to Visayas through HVDC (high voltage direct current) line. So far, no blackouts in Visayas.”

The red alert status of the Visayas grid comes just three days after the Luzon grid was also placed on red alert on Friday after a unit of the Pagbilao plant in Quezon province broke down due to a valve problem.

Pagbilao is expected to be back online on Thursday.


‘Declare power crisis’

Malacañang was asked yesterday to declare a power crisis.

Members of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives said denying the problem would only lead to more blackouts.

Speaking to reporters, Abakada-Guro Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz said Malacañang is apparently in denial that a power crisis exists while rotating blackouts in Mindanao have reached Metro Manila.

“I don’t think that’s the mindset of the President, to declare that there’s a power crisis,” he said. “Acknowledging the crisis is already part of the solution. These are problems that they cannot deny and things could get worse with such a stance.”

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc, said they will invite officials of the Department of Energy (DOE), National Power Corp. (Napocor), and NGCP to the House Question Hour to find out the actual status of power supply nationwide.

“So we want to hear it straight from them: Are we in a power crisis or not?” he asked.

“How stable really is the supply? We want to know what kind of maintenance work is being done on the power plants, how often and how safe are these?

“More importantly, we want to find out what makes it seemingly impossible for the government to solve the power crisis in Mindanao and to eliminate blackouts nationwide.”

Romualdez said people must know what, if any, has been or is being done by the government, and who exactly are the people who must be held accountable.

– With Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Felipe


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