Red, yellow alerts raised over Luzon, Visayas grids

THE Luzon and Visayas power grids were placed on red and yellow alerts on Thursday with more than 3,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity unavailable, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

In an advisory early Thursday, the NGCP said a red alert was in force over Luzon between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Yellow alerts were raised between 12 noon and 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. and 12 midnight.

On Thursday peak demand hit 13,597 MW, exceeding the available capacity of 13,531 MW.

A total of 18 power plants are on forced outage, while three are running derated, leaving 2,525.5 MW unavailable to the grid.

The major plants on forced outage are Sual coal fired power plant 1 with a capacity of 647 MW. Derated plants include Sual coal fired power plant 2 with output of 550 MW  and GNPower Dinginin Ltd. with 600 MW.

Yellow alerts are issued when the supply available to the grid falls below a designated safety threshold. If the supply-demand balance deteriorates further, a red alert is declared.

The Visayas grid was on red alert between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and 7 p.m.

A yellow alert was raised between 12 noon and 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Peak demand was 2,537 MW, just under the available capacity of 2,588 MW.

The grid operator said that a total of 21 power plants are on forced outage, while three are operating at limited capacity, for a total of 553.1 MW unavailable to the grid.

To date, red alerts have been raised over Luzon and Visayas for seven and eight days, respectively.

The NGCP issued yellow alerts on Luzon for 20 days, in the Visayas 22 days, and in Mindanao two days.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it obtained commitments from major customers participating in its Interruptible Load Program to take more than 300 MW of their demand off the grid while they use their own generating facilities.

“We are also ready in the event the implementation of manual load dropping (MLD) or rotating power interruptions will be needed as part of our responsibility to manage the system,” Meralco spokesperson and head of corporate communications Joe R. Zaldarriaga said.

The Department of Energy (DoE) said that tight power supply conditions have persisted due to the sustained high peak demands in both the Luzon and Visayas grids.

The DoE said that the Energy Regulatory Commission suspended the operations of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) starting at trading intervals 1:05 p.m. for the Luzon grid and 2:05 p.m. for the Visayas grid.

“The operations of the WESM shall remain suspended until issuance of the notice of market resumption by the Commission,” the Energy department said.

With hydroelectric plants in Luzon still constrained, the DoE has called on the other generation plants on forced outage to “ensure that these facilities are back online as soon as possible.” — Sheldeen Joy Talavera