No red alerts expected on Luzon grid during dry months

THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) said Thursday that it does not expect to issue any red alerts on the Luzon grid in the next nine weeks, after releasing an updated power outlook from the transmission company.

However, the DoE added yellow alerts are possible until July.

“Since (our) latest meeting with NGCP (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines) on 14 April, the Luzon grid will no longer have any red alerts as far as summer is concerned, according to the projection. We may have yellow alerts on weeks 15 to 18, and weeks 21 to 25,” DoE Spokesman Felix William B. Fuentebella said at a virtual briefing. The DoE said its method of reckoning dates puts the Philippines at Week 16.

When reserves fall below ideal levels, the NGCP issues a yellow alert. This is subsequently downgraded to a red alert when the power supply situation worsens.

During the briefing, Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola said yellow alerts could be issued due to extended outages at several power plants. “We have experienced some forced outages of power plants, with others on extended outages. The (outage) schedule of the 647-MW Sual 2 coal plant was extended, and it had a huge impact on supply. We also experienced extended outages at the 300-MW Calaca Unit and GNPower Mariveles,” Mr. Delola said.

“Given these extended outages, we see that there is a possibility of yellow alerts… because of a thinning of reserves,” he added.

The Luzon grid is expected to register peak demand of 11,841 MW, as projected by the NGCP. Mr. Delola said hitting the peak is unlikely.

“We will have a demand that’s substantially lower than 11,841 megawatts. In fact, the IEMOP (Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines) said that the demand will only reach around 10,511 MW,” he said.

Mr. Fuentebella said the raising of yellow alerts on the grid do not result in power interruptions, adding that only red alerts trigger rotating ‘brownouts.’

“When the grid is on a yellow alert, we watch the system. When a huge plant goes on an outage (during this period), that will trigger a red alert and rotating brownouts. Yellow alerts sometimes happen when the power supply goes below the threshold,” he said. — Angelica Y. Yang