Luzon on red alert status after tight power supply

by Alena Mae S. Flores – April 15, 2016 at 11:50 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Luzon was placed on a red alert status Friday afternoon due to a shortage of power supply amid increased demand. No brownouts occurred, however, as some large power users stopped drawing supply from the grid and used their generating sets.

Visayas and Mindanao were also on red alert with reserves at 26 MW and 196 MW below the required levels, respectively yesterday.

Manila Electric Co. issued a warning Friday afternoon of a tentative manual load dropping schedule, which means some parts of its franchise area will experience brownouts.

“Tentative manual load dropping is scheduled starting 1 p.m. Participants under the interruptible load program, however, have already been called to start deluding starting 1 p.m. [Friday] to reduce demand,” Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said.

Meralco’s franchise area suffered a deficiency of 30 MW at 1 p.m., 200 MW to 220 MW at 2 p.m. and 160 MW at 3 p.m.

Meralco persuaded large power users to deload, or stop drawing power from the grid, where demand is high in return for a certain level of compensation.

Participants to the program have a total available capacity of over 800 MW.

System operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines declared red alert from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday due to the generation deficiency.

“Malaya has reduced capability from 350 MW to 130 MW. Projected demand was high at 9,746 MW versus latest capacity of 9,771 MW. No MLD but Meralco implemented ILP,” Energy Undersecretary Mylene Capongcol said.

Actual demand peaked to 9,455 MW at 1 p.m. Friday against the capacity of 9,771 MW, while operating reserves were 44 MW below the required levels with generation deficiency at 333 MW.

Industry data showed Kalayaan hydro power plants units 3 and 4 (180 MW each) were put on emergency shutdown.

The Quezon Power plant with a capacity 289 MW also tripped.

Other power plants that are still out are the Malaya 1 (300 MW), Botocon 2 (10 MW) and Magat units 3 & 4 (95 MW).

The Pagbilao unit 1 power plant with a capacity of 382 MW also went offline but came back online in the afternoon.

Other power plants were also on limited capability, such as Calaca 1 which dropped to 190 MW from 200 MW and Calaca 2 to 220 MW from 300 MW.

Other power plants were on maintenance shutdown but were expected to come back online by end April in preparation for the May elections.

Capongcol said the red alert status was lifted for Luzon at 3 p.m. but yellow alert was still imposed at 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. due to insufficient operating reserves.

Visayas, meanwhile, was forecasted to have a peak demand of 1,784 MW against the available capacity of 1,758 MW.

Mindanao’s demand was projected to reach 1,436 MW against an available capacity of only 1,297 MW.