Meralco to source additional power ahead of Malampaya shutdown

By Lenie Lectura – January 29, 2019
from Business Mirror

In Photo: Meralco linemen repair a power cable in this August 17, 2015, file photo.


THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) may have to source additional power in time for the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility in October this year.

“We may have to look if there is available supply to source from,” Meralco utility economics head Lawrence Fernandez said in an interview on Monday afternoon.

Meralco, however, has yet to determine the additional capacity it would need to source from other power suppliers, saying it  “depends on forecast of demand at that time.”

Besides, he added, Meralco has yet to be formally informed about the shutdown set to take place from  October 12 to 16.

“Normally, there is a coordination meeting set whenever there’s a Malampaya shutdown. All stakeholders will meet to ensure there is adequate supply and to ensure minimal impact on consumers,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said between 50 percent and 60 percent of Meralco-DU (distribution utility) supply is from power plants using Malampaya gas.

The gas facility fuels the following gas plants: the 1,000-megawatt Santa Rita, the 500-MW San Lorenzo, the 1,200-MW Ilijan, the 97-MW Avion and the 414-MW San Gabriel.

Meralco partly sources its requirements from the Santa Rita, San Lorenzo, San Gabriel plants of First Gas Corp. and from South Premier Power Corp.’s Ilijan plant. The utility firm does not have a power supply agreement with First Gen’s Avion plant.

Meralco normally seeks additional power requirements from other power producers via interim power supply agreements (IPSAs) during the summer months to ensure continuous and reliable electricity for Meralco customers. This is also the case whenever the Malampaya gas facility is on shutdown.

“We will get guidance from the Department of Energy to coordinate efforts to ensure reliable power during the planned shutdown. Past initiatives included IPSAs, ensuring availability of adequate alternative/liquid fuel, adjusting maintenance shutdowns of other power plants. All these will be considered by stakeholders during the coordination meetings,” Fernandez said.

This year’s Malampaya scheduled maintenance shutdown will cover technical work at offshore platform (West Philippine Sea) and at onshore gas plant (Batangas); repair of equipment; installation of critical spare parts; check of instrumentation and controls.

“We aim to make shutdown duration as short as possible to minimize impact on natural gas supply. This shutdown is relatively short compared to previous ones,” a source from the Malampaya consortium said last week.

The Malampaya consortium is composed of SPEx (Shell Philippines Exploration BV), with a 45-percent stake, Chevron Malampaya Llc., also with a 45-percent stake; and PNOC-EC (Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp.), which holds the remaining 10 percent.