Luzon, Visayas grids placed under red, yellow alert

Patrick Miguel - The Philippine Star
Luzon, Visayas grids placed under red, yellow alert
Under red alert status, power supply is insufficient to meet consumer demand and the grid’s regulating requirement.
Businessworld / NGCP.PH

MANILA, Philippines — With several power plants either offline or operating at reduced capacity, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) yesterday placed the Luzon and Visayas grids on red and yellow alert status.

Under red alert status, power supply is insufficient to meet consumer demand and the grid’s regulating requirement.

Yellow alert is raised when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s contingency requirement.

The NGCP said the situation might require manual load dropping (MLD).

The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it was ready to implement rotating power interruptions.

In a statement, the NGCP said it put the Luzon grid under red alert from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m., later extended until 11 p.m. Yellow alert was up from 1 to 2 p.m., 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m.

The Visayas grid was on yellow alert from 2 to 4 p.m., 6 to 7 p.m. and extended until 9 p.m. as 12 power plants went on forced outage and five running on a limited capacity.

In its statement, the NGCP said 19 power plants in Luzon were on forced outage and three operating on derated capacities. The situation translated to unavailability to the grid of 2,117.3 megawatts.

Peak demand in Luzon was 13,024 MW as against available capacity of 13,537 MW, while in the Visayas, peak demand was 2,440 MW vis-à-vis available capacity of 2,742 MW.

Marcos: Address power issues

President Marcos directed the monitoring of the country’s power situation and the adoption of conservation measures as alert levels were raised in the Luzon grid due to supply issues.

“In light of the recent red and yellow alerts in the Luzon grid, I have instructed the Department of Energy to closely monitor and coordinate with all stakeholders to address the situation,” Marcos said in an X post yesterday.

‘I have also directed all government offices to set the standard in conserving energy and minimizing power consumption,” he added.

The President said it is “crucial” for everyone to work together to ensure a stable power supply for the next couple of days.

“Let’s adopt energy-efficient practices and stand together to overcome this challenge,” he added.

Meralco said it is “ready in the event the implementation of manual load dropping or rotating power interruptions will be needed as part of our responsibility to manage the system.”

Parts of Metro Manila, Rizal Province, Laguna, Batangas and other neighboring municipalities have tentative schedules for MLD.

However, in an afternoon update, Meralco said so far it “did not resort to any (MLD) or rotating power interruptions.”

“This is partly due to the help of our big-load customers, which collectively de-loaded around 300 megawatts under the interruptible load program (ILP),” Meralco said.

Meralco said in March that 105 companies expressed commitment to participate in the program.

The forced outage of power plants in Luzon and the Visayas resulted in power loss of 1,811.3 MW and 414.9 MW, respectively.

NGCP projects

The NGCP, meanwhile, said it has energized the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230-kiloVolt (kV) Backbone Project Stage 3 as part of efforts to improve power transmission services in Cebu, Negros and Panay.

The project is designed to increase the transfer of power capacity from Panay to Negros to Cebu, and vice versa.

While the energization of the line would improve transmission services and the reliability of the grid, NGCP stressed the need for the implementation of strategic developments on the generation side to fully optimize the benefits of the strengthened interconnection.

“The project’s completion was touted by some parties as the primary solution to the recent spate of power outages in Negros and Panay. But CNP3 is not the sole or primary solution to the woes of Panay consumers. Transmission and power generation go hand in hand. Sufficient power generation development supported by reliable transmission is the formula for optimized energy development. This will support the country’s push towards economic recovery,” the NGCP explained.

“We have long advocated for a holistic approach to energy industry development,” it added.

“Generation and transmission must be developed together. One cannot be made to bear the whole burden of keeping the industry stable,” NGCP stressed.

The CNP3 is the last of the three critical projects the NGCP has delivered amid “numerous challenges beyond its control” like difficulties in securing right-of-way, slow progress of expropriation cases, conflicts with several local government units regarding issuance of permits, among others.

The project was completed by NGCP in less than seven years, or below the average of seven to 10 years of project completion in first world countries.

“This is a big step towards improving power transmission services in the Visayas grid as its energization will allow the delivery of power to support Panay’s needs from Cebu or elsewhere from the grid, provided that there is an availability of excess power generation. While the line will help improve the delivery of power, more baseload plants in Negros and more in-island generation in Panay are needed to prevent the occurrence of power outages,” NGCP said.

“The energization of the CNP is a testament to NGCP’s commitment to complete this and all its other projects,” it added.

The CNP3 comprises 544 transmission towers spanning 354 circuit kilometers of overhead lines, 58 circuit kilometers of submarine cables and 10 substations.

The project was filed for approval with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in 2016 with a project cost of P43.41 billion. However, the ERC granted a provisional approval in 2017 for only one year’s worth of capital expenditure amounting to P176.75 million. NGCP has yet to receive the ERC’s final approval. — Alexis Romero, Rudy Santos, Artemio Dumlao

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