DOE says recent outages not due to power crisis

DOE says recent outages not due to power crisis

MANILA – The Department of Energy (DOE) reiterated on Thursday there is no power crisis in the country following the three-day rotational brownouts in some parts of Luzon last week.

In a Senate hearing, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the country has enough power capacity to serve the electricity requirement of consumers even with the peak demand for the year forecasted at 11,841 megawatts (MW).

He said the Luzon grid has a registered capacity of 17,266 MW.

However, Cusi said the Luzon grid could not afford to have more than two power plants to go on forced and unplanned outages when power demand is rising due to increasing heat index.

Four power plants with a combined capacity of over 2,000 MW were offline from May 31 to June 2, the same period when the Luzon grid experienced the rotational brownouts.

There are also power plants that are still undergoing maintenance and derating, which brought the net available energy supply in Luzon to 10,600 MW between May 31 and June 1.

Power demand last June 1 was at 11,593 MW, higher than the available supply but not reaching the peak demand outlook for the year.

Cusi attributed the outages to the noncompliance of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to secure firm ancillary services contracts that will serve as power reserves when plants went on outages.

To prevent power outages in the system, the DOE requires a regulating reserve which is equivalent to 4 percent of the peak demand; a contingency reserve equivalent to 4 percent of the peak demand plus the capacity of the biggest power plant in the system; and a dispatchable reserve equivalent to 4 percent plus the capacity of the second largest plant in the system.

These ancillary services should be contracted by the NGCP in preparation for the dry months when power demand is rising.

However, the NGCP failed to secure 100 percent of firm contracts for ancillary service.

“This is not a power crisis issue; this is a compliance issue,” Cusi said.

Cusi also cited other mandated obligations and government orders that the NGCP failed to comply with, which include issues on cybersecurity, system operation audit, delay of transmission projects, delay in the initial public offering, and concession agreement and franchise-related non-compliance.

Moreover, Electric Power Industry Management Bureau director Mario Marasigan said the country’s power capacity has increased since 2016 to meet the rising demand.

Based on the list of new registered capacities in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), new capacities in 2016 were at 1,385 MW; 1,196 MW in 2017; 226 MW in 2018; 1,308 MW in 2019; 726 MW in 2020; and 74 MW in 2021.

Marasigan said committed power projects until 2025 for Luzon and Visayas grid are 2,064 MW for this year; 922 MW in 2022; 1,038 MW in 2023; 1,914 MW in 2024; and 692 MW in 2025. (PNA)

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