Luzon, Visayas grids on yellow alert

Patrick Miguel - The Philippine Star
Luzon, Visayas grids on yellow alert
Two power plants in Luzon – the Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. and the Sta. Rita power plants – are back online.
Businessworld / NGCP.PH

MANILA, Philippines — The Luzon and Visayas grids were placed under yellow alert yesterday, with several power plants still on forced outage or running on derated capacity, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Two power plants in Luzon – the Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. and the Sta. Rita power plants – are back online.

Meanwhile, 13 power plants are on forced outage in the Visayas grid, while five others are running on derated capacities, for a total of 698 megawatts unavailable to the grid.

Both Luzon and Visayas grids were placed on red alert yesterday, following the forced outage of 42 units of power plants in total.

Think tank Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) said the Luzon grid might experience “a tight power supply” from May 13 to 26, leading to yellow alerts.

ICSC said the Visayas and Mindanao grids will sustain a sufficient power supply until June.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila was spared from a major power outage because of the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) that the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) implemented.

Big-load customers under the ILP program deloaded around 300 MW, according to Meralco vice president and head of corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga.

“The 300 MW helped, instead of utilizing the Meralco grid, they used their own generator sets, which the consumers benefited from,” Zaldarriaga said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum yesterday.

However, around 50,000 customers from parts of Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna were affected by the manual load dropping.

“We now need to create an industrial base and we need to provide reliable and affordable power in the countryside so that the industries will not crowd,” Meralco senior vice president Arnel Casanova said.

“Our problem concerns capacity. We need more power plants online, we need more capacity moving forward, we need more energy that we can distribute,” Zaldarriaga said.

Nuclear energy

The House of Representatives had set very stringent parameters for the possible use of nuclear energy as the country tries to achieve a very stable power supply in the near future, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte revealed.

He said the chamber’s approval on third and final reading of House Bill 9293 in November 2023, where a vote of 200-7 with two abstentions was recorded, sets the stage for the use of nuclear or atomic sources to help attain energy security.

He said the measure requires the establishment of a comprehensive national plan for nuclear and radiological emergencies as well as for radioactive waste management, and funding for the eventual decommissioning or disposition of facilities and spent nuclear fuel (SNF).

“The development by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of a national emergency plan for potential nuclear or radiological emergencies, plus the establishment of separate funds for the final disposition of SNF and the eventual decommissioning of would-be nuclear power facilities are on the must-do list of HB 9293 for our safe and secure use of atomic energy,” he said.

The proposed legislation, according to him, sets up a “legal framework to govern and make possible the safe use of nuclear energy, but only for the country’s future commercial requirements.”

“Once approved by the 19th Congress and signed into law by President Marcos, this measure will clear the way to the safe use of nuclear or atomic power for our household and commercial or industrial power requirements,” he stressed.

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