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More power outages loom until August
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, called on the DOE to convene a task force to address these imminent brownouts in the critical weeks until the first week of August.
STAR/ File

More power outages loom until August

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) was directed by the Senate yesterday to convene a task force to find an immediate solution to the projected power supply shortage this month until early August this year.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, called on the DOE to convene a task force to address these imminent brownouts in the critical weeks until the first week of August.

“Next week until week 31, the possibility of brownouts is there. We need to prepare, our local government units, ourselves,” he said during the DOE’s presentation at the Senate committee hearing.

The DOE told the Senate that it projects severe supply shortage beginning next week until the first week of August due to the extended plant outage of several power plants coupled with the scheduled plant maintenance of some plants in those weeks.

The Luzon power grid could be placed on yellow and red alerts during this time, leading to possible rotational brownouts.

A yellow alert means there are not enough reserves to cover the largest running generating unit at the time but does not necessarily lead to power outages. On the other hand, a red alert means there is severe power deficiency which could lead to rotational power interruptions.

“We need to take this seriously,” Gatchalian said. “Data is showing [brownouts] might happen. The possibility is high. I urge the DOE to convene a preventive task force to come up with a plan and submit to this committee the plan as early as next week Monday.”

As a stop gap measure, the DOE said it will urge large power consumers to participate in the interruptible load program (ILP) to lessen demand in the power grid.

“For the thinning reserves for the coming weeks, we are going to call on the ILP to make sure there will be lesser demand from commercial establishments,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

Cusi is also pushing for the delay in some maintenance schedules of power plants and the operation of GNPower Dinginin (GNPD) during the critical weeks.

KEPCO Ilijan Corp., which operates the 600-megawatt (MW) Ilijan Block A gas fired power plant, has indicated its readiness to delay further its scheduled maintenance shutdown to end-July.

“Originally, we postponed our maintenance schedule from May 8 to June 24 to sustain our grid capability. As of now, we can delay around one week until July 30, we can delay,” KEPCO Ilijan representative Bumki Park said during the hearing.

Meanwhile, GNPD vice president Bobet Racelis said the first 668-MW unit of coal plant can resume commissioning and testing in the first week of July, providing enough buffer to the Luzon grid.

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