Meralco watches supply in Luzon grid

by Alena Mae S. Flores – December 23, 2015 at 11:20 pm

from Manila Standard

Power retailer Manila Electric Co. said it will closely watch the power supply in Luzon next year as power plants will likely move their maintenance schedule to the second half to ensure electricity is available during the election period in May.

“Everybody is trying to avoid a scheduled shutdown during election,” Meralco president Oscar Reyes told reporters.

Demand usually shoots up during the dry months. The government predicted that the El Niño weather phenomenon would occur until the first half, which could affect the performance of hydro power plants.

Reyes said power generating companies agreed to move their maintenance schedules to the second half, which could result in a tight power supply during the period.

“This may put some tightness in supply based on their maintenance schedule,” the Meralco executive said.

Reyes said Meralco was preparing for an increased demand during the dry months next year by tapping additional interim supply of around 240 megawatts.

“That’s the reason why we’re trying to contract the interim power supply agreements,” he said.

Reyes said participants in the interruptible load program or ILP could be tapped again to manage demand during the period.

The ILP has generated commitment from power users such as mall operators, commercial and industrial buildings and other industries to de-load and not draw power from the Luzon grid by utilizing their generating sets.

These ILPs have a combined capacity of around 800 MW.

Reyes said the government should ensure that the expected power capacities would come online next year to avoid any shortage.

Among the projects lined up for completion in 2016 are the Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp.’s 300-MW coal plant, San Miguel Corp.’s 150-MW Limay power plant, several solar power projects, 100-MW Avion power plant and 450-MW San Gabriel power plant of First Gen Corp.