ERC to power generators: Explain forced outages

Patrick Miguel - The Philippine Star
ERC to power generators: Explain forced outages
RC Chairperson and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta said the commission will collect information and review reports from affected stakeholders to find causes of the forced outages of several power plants.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will investigate the recent forced outages of several power plants, resulting in the placement of the Luzon and Visayas grids on red and yellow alert.

Several power plants are on forced outage or running on derated capacity, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced on Tuesday.

ERC Chairperson and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta said the commission will collect information and review reports from affected stakeholders to find causes of the forced outages of several power plants.

“Based on our findings, we will formalize the investigation to determine compliance or non-compliance by the relevant stakeholders and implement appropriate measures to impose penalties on any lapses and address issues that may have contributed to the adverse situation,” Dimalanta said.

ERC is mandated to review stakeholders’ performance “to ensure compliance with reporting requirements, maintenance and technical standards,” including its observance of allowable outage limitations.

Moreover, power plant operators were directed by the commission to submit its estimated timelines for the resumption of operations.

According to ERC, around 1,179.52 megawatts has been restored in Luzon as of Thursday, from the 3,233.68 MW out of the system on Tuesday.

The Visayas grid, meanwhile, secured around 272.72 MW of restored capacity on Wednesday, from 890.51 MW on Tuesday.

“We are fully aware of the difficulties brought about by these power disruptions and affirm our commitment to a thorough investigation,” Dimalanta said.

ERC will then continue to monitor the status of capacity restoration through coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE), generation companies and the NGCP.

Meanwhile, the DOE also said in a statement it will continue to monitor the status of the power supply. Moreover, DOE gave assurance that it is coordinating with concerned generation firms for the recovery of plants on outage.

As of yesterday morning, NGCP said available capacity in the Luzon grid is 13,397 MW, amid peak demand recorded at 12,892 MW.

Meanwhile, in the Visayas grid, available capacity and peak demand as of the afternoon is recorded at 2,410 MW and 2,354 MW, respectively.

The Manila Electric Co. has de-loaded about 400 megawatts in response to the lack of power supply in the grid after Meralco secured more than 100 Interruptible Load Program commitments, specifically big-load consumers to participate in easing the demand for energy.

No manual load dropping took place in the Meralco franchise areas. However, rotational power interruptions took place in other provinces.

Meanwhile, NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza clarified they are merely a transmission service provider and they “just depend on the available capacity from the power plants.”

“When power plants go offline, we really have no control over them,” Alabanza said in One News’ “Storycon.”

For its part, the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) said that the majority of the power plants on forced outage in Luzon were hydro plants, as outages normally “occur during summer” when water levels are low.

PIPPA added that its member-generators have submitted reports following unplanned outages.

Red, yellow alert to last longer

Alabanza said the Luzon grid may still be placed on yellow alert until the end of the week, while the Visayas grid will be on yellow alert until next week.

However, Alabanza said this is assuming that no additional power plants will go offline.

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 willsustain a sufficient power supply until June.

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