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Joint panel bucks emergency powers for Noy

Iris Gonzales, Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) is not inclined to endorse proposals for Congress to grant President Aquino emergency powers to address the looming energy crisis next summer.

Oriental Mindoro Reynaldo Umali, a member of the JCPC, said based on initial studies of the panel, there is no need for emergency powers for the President because various industries and private firms have as much as 3,900 megawatts of “embedded power.”

He said under Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla’s proposal, Aquino should be granted emergency powers to allow the government to enter into contracts to use diesel generators.

The lawmaker, however, said such a move would cost the government P14 billion for a two-year lease on the power barges to be used only in critical periods.

Tapping idle power in private industries will cost the government only about P200 million or less, he said.

Umali said the panel had consulted with various business groups such as the Federation of Philippine Industries, and they have signified willingness to participate in the program.

Luzon grid on red alert

Meanwhile, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has put the Luzon grid on red alert due to a power supply shortfall caused by forced outages of some plants.

As a result, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, implemented a manual load dropping or scheduled blackouts from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. yesterday. MLD is the process of rationing power.

A gas restriction at the Malampaya project also tightened supply.

The capacity in Luzon stood at 8,393 megawatts against a demand of 7,910 MW, translating to reserves of just 483 MW.

A red alert means there is a severe power deficiency while a yellow alert means reserves are below the minimum level set by the regulator.

Yellow alert is reached when the total reserve is less than the capacity of the largest plant online. For the Luzon grid, this is usually 647 MW or one unit of the Sual Power Plant.

“The NGCP declared a red alert over Luzon due to various plants (Calaca and GN Power) that went on forced outage, aggravated by an emergency restriction of Malampaya gas supply, which led to a reduction of Iligan’s output,” said Larry Fernandez, head of Meralco’s utility economics.

To mitigate the impact of the tight power supply, Meralco has called on large power users as it activated its interruptible load program (ILP).

“We are calling on ILP participants to deload and reduce power taken from the grid,” Fernandez said.

Under the so-called ILP, private generators can sell their excess capacity to the grid to fill in the shortfall.

This is not the first time that power plants went on forced outages.

The problem of aging power plants is causing the growing incidence of emergency and extended maintenance shutdowns among the country’s power plants, highlighting the need for new power facilities, officials said.

Petilla said some plants are conking out because they are old.

 

vuukle comment

ENERGY SECRETARY JERICHO PETILLA

FEDERATION OF PHILIPPINE INDUSTRIES

FOR THE LUZON

JOINT CONGRESSIONAL POWER COMMISSION

LARRY FERNANDEZ

LUZON

MALAMPAYA

MANILA ELECTRIC CO

MERALCO

POWER

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