Investigation of red, yellow alerts in Luzon, Visayas sought

MATTHEW HENRY-UNSPLASH

A SENATOR has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into the recent red and yellow alerts in the Luzon and Visayas power grids amid increased demand due to record heat.

“The persistent problem of insufficient electricity supply suffered by Filipinos requires a comprehensive solution from all electric power industry participants,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said in Senate Resolution No. 1018 filed on April 29.

The Senate was urged to consult with the Department of Energy (DoE), National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and other stakeholders to look into the country’s power supply outlook and measures to ensure continuous supply.

On Monday, the NGCP placed the main island of Luzon and the Visayas under yellow alerts after their power supply fell below the safety threshold.

Yellow alerts are issued when the supply available to the grid falls below a safety threshold. If the supply-demand balance deteriorates, a red alert is declared.

Metro Manila and other regions have been experiencing sizzling temperatures due to the El Niño weather event.

Mr. Gatchalian said the DoE and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should propose short, medium and long-term solutions to the country’s power supply problems.

He said these agencies should ensure power generation companies comply with the highest standards.

The Luzon grid’s available capacity was 14,952 megawatts (MW), while peak demand forecast was 13,893 MW, the NGCP said on Monday.

It said four power plants have been on forced outage since 2023, four between January and March 2024 and 13 this month. One plant is running on a derated capacity. Due to the forced outage, a total of 1,443.3 MW were unavailable to the grid.

Meanwhile, the Visayas grid was placed under yellow alert from 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Its available capacity was 2,835 MW, while peak demand forecast was 2,596 MW.

Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday said the country was in a “crisis,” with systems being overloaded. He said his government would continue monitoring power supply and endorse NGCP projects.

“The effect of El Niño is not something new to us,” Mr. Gatchalian said. “We shouldn’t settle for knee-jerk solutions every time we have a spike in demand due to weather-related disturbances.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez