Visayas electricity supply still tight

by Alena Mae S. Flores – October 11, 2017 at 07:33 pm


The Visayas grid will experience tight power supply, with “yellow and red alerts” until December this year, underscoring the need for additional reserves in the region, an official of Philippine Electricity Market Corp. said Wednesday.

The system operator issues a ‘yellow alert’ whenever there is insufficient reserve in the grid.

“Availability of the geothermal plants has already improved significantly since September and no further increase in yellow or red alerts are foreseen. However, the geothermal plants are projected to be fully available towards the end of the year. Hence, alerts for Visayas grid are still expected until December,” Francis Saturnino Juan, a member of the PEMC transition committee, said.

PEMC operates the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, the trading floor of electricity in both the Visayas and Luzon.

The Visayas’ precarious power condition followed a series of five yellow alerts in the Luzon grid from August to September, raising concerns over the need for more power in the area.

Peak demand in the Visayas reached 1,804 megawatts Wednesday, while available system capacity was at 2,247 MW.

“For Visayas, supply conditions are tight [resulting in yellow alerts] due to deratings of major generating units [geothermal plants Leyte A and Tongonan as a result of the July 2017 earthquake in Leyte which damaged the geo plants including the HVDC link between Luzon and Visayas] resulting in occasional price spikes,” Juan said.

The PEMC official said September encountered less grid alert conditions in the Visayas, compared to July and August with the improvement of the geothermal supply level and the availability of the high voltage direct current or HVDC link.

Juan said the availability of the geothermal plants in the Visayas had already improved significantly since September.

“Thus, in general, lower prices are noted in Visayas for September compared to previous months,” Juan  said.

Manila Electric Co. earlier expressed concern over the series of yellow alerts in Luzon, which underscored the need for additional capacities in the grid.

Meralco president Oscar Reyes said yellow alerts were a “reality” and showed the “vulnerability” of the Luzon grid.