Meralco row seen to impact on supply

by Alena Mae S. Flores – April 12, 2016 at 11:05 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Philippine Electricity Market Corp. said Tuesday the decision of Millennium Energy Inc. to withdraw from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market will have an impact on supply during the dry months.

PEMC, which operates the electricity market, delisted Millennium on April 1 after the power generator sought an end to its WESM membership following the non-renewal a the distribution wheeling service agreement with Meralco.

Millennium operates the 100-megawatt diesel-fired power plant in Navotas. The company decided to stop supplying power capacity to the wholesale electricity spot market after incurring losses due to the wheeling charges collected by Meralco.

PEMC, however, said despite the cessation of registration, the outstanding obligations and liabilities of Millennium to the WESM were valid until fully settled.

“PEMC followed its procedures in deregistering Millennium from its roster of WESM membership. The immediate impact will be the reduction of offers to be traded in the market that will result in the tightening of supply against the backdrop of increased demand during the summer months and forthcoming election day,” PEMC president Melinda Ocampo in a statement.

Demand has been going up in recent days with the onset of the dry months.

Power supply in the Luzon grid, meanwhile, normalized Tuesday with the return of operations of several power plants, including  unit 2 of the Sual coal-fired power plant in Pangasinan with a capacity of 647 megawatts.

One unit of the Sual plant was back online at 8:01 p.m. Monday after the plant tripped at 3:14 p.m. Monday.

The yellow alert for the Luzon grid was lifted at 10:01 p.m. Monday even as the Therma Mobile units 5 and 6 with a combined capacity of 119 MW and the 300-MW Calaca coal plant in Batangas remained offline.

A yellow alert means the grid has a limited or thin power reserve.

The Magat hydro plants units 3 and 4, however, are expected to return to operations late Monday.

Energy Undersecretary Mylene Capongcol said Luzon grid’s capacity reached 10,526 MW compared with the peak demand of 9,154 MW. Luzon’s net reserve was at 1,005 MW on Monday afternoon, increasing to 1,643 MW  Monday evening.

On Tuesday, peak demand reached a high of 9,255 MW, which the department attributed to the hottest El Niño weather phenomenon to date.

“In this critical phase concerning our power supply, we are counting on the collective effort of everybody to proactive energy efficiency,” Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada said.

Monsada, meanwhile, said while the distribution wheeling rate issue was the concern of the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Energy Department conceded the diesel plant could add capacity to the grid during the dry months.

“If it can run again, it will help improve the supply situation,” Monsada said. Power supply is historically tight during the dry months when demand is high.

“We will coordinate with ERC about Millennium. The issue is compensation. We cannot force anybody if it is not properly compensated,” Monsada said.