THE Department of Energy (DOE) is meeting officials of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) today to discuss measures being undertaken to mitigate the impact of the power-supply deficiency between April and May this year.
“DOE called NGCP and Meralco to a meeting to discuss the summer 2020 supply-demand situation,” said Meralco utility economics head Lawrence Fernandez in an interview Wednesday.
DOE Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola confirmed the meeting will take place on February 19.
“They’ll present their individual updates on their measures to address the summer deficiencies. We regularly meet with them. This time, it will be with Usec Jess [Posadas]. Just to update him,” he said via text message.
When asked if the agency has any directives to Meralco and NGCP, Delola said the DOE wants them fully prepared to handle foreseeable situations to prevent power outages.
NGCP will include in its ILP (Interruptible Load Program) their directly connected customers, he said. “On the maintenance schedule, the schedules have been moved. NGCP also has to ensure that they have contracted ancillary service. Also, they must fast-track some transmission lines projects to allow generation from incoming plants like GNPD [GN Power Dinginin],” he said.
For Meralco, the DOE will instruct the utility firm “to ensure their requirements are contracted, to intensify their ILP program as well and work with EUMB [Energy Utilization and Management Bureau] on the energy efficiency side like load shifting, etc…”
Meralco, for its part, said it is ready to activate its ILP, in which it will ask its partner establishments to turn their power generators on whenever the power supply is constricted instead of drawing power from the grid. Thus, power supply that is not consumed by participating customers will be available for use by other customers within Meralco’s franchise area.
“In case there are forced outages by the power generators, Meralco has measures in place to ensure continued, reliable service to our customers. It continues to reach out to partner customers to implement the ILP in order to augment the power supply needed in households in Luzon during times of challenged supply,” said Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga when sought for comment.
Meralco also encourages customers to practice energy efficiency and join the Peak-Off Peak Program, to transfer power consumption to the nighttime.
The DOE estimates that red alerts may be issued from April 18 to 21 and May 20 to 22, and that an additional capacity of 256 megawatts to 821 MW is needed in the Luzon power grid to avoid the yellow or red alert in the region.
A yellow alert is issued when power supplies are low but may not lead to power outages, while a red alert is issued when the power supply in power grids is insufficient and may result in rotational brownouts or manual load dropping in areas covered by particular grids.
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) warned the other day of rotational brownouts that could last for an hour on days mentioned by the DOE.
NEA has called on all electric cooperatives (ECs) in Luzon and Visayas to prepare their respective contingency plans like the demand-side management programs and maximizing embedded power plants to reduce, if not eliminate, rotating brownouts during peak hours.
Embedded power plants are those that are not directly connected to the power grid but still supply power to a specific area.
In Luzon, five ECs—Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative Inc. (INEC), Isabela I Electric Cooperative Inc. (ISELCO I), Isabela II Electric Cooperative (ISELCO II), Zambales II Electric Cooperative Inc. (ZAMECO II), and Sorsogon II Electric Cooperative Inc. (SORECO II)—have embedded power plants with a combined capacity of 11.696 MW.
In the Visayas, three power distribution utilities—Cebu I Electric Cooperative Inc. (CEBECO I), Bohol I Electric Cooperative Inc. (BOHECO I), and Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative Inc. (SOLECO)—have embedded mini-hydro power plants with a total capacity of 10.42 MW.
“We have already advised ECs that do not have embedded power plants to initiate demand-side management programs, wherein the ECs will work with big electricity consumers in order for them to reduce their usage when demand is high or when an alert level is issued,” said NEA.
NEA has also recommended that ECs implement load curtailment or load shedding in their respective coverage areas when necessary.
Affected ECs are also directed to encourage large establishments with stand-by generating capacities to participate ILP.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes