The country’s power supply could be “tight” in the summer of 2024 amid higher demand and the lack of new power sources.
“It’s still going to be tight because there is no new power plant except maybe the Excellent plant of San Miguel that’s scheduled to be completed by the end of next year. Its entry would even be in 2025,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).
Pangilinan was referring to the 1,750 megawatt (MW) LNG (liquefied natural gas) power plant of Excellent Energy Resources Inc. (EERI), a subsidiary of San Miguel Global Power, the power arm of conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
Meralco is anticipating an increase in peak demand to 8,346 megawatts (MW) for this year from 8,111.02 MW in 2022. “This 2023, peak demand in Meralco’s system is expected to increase by 2.9 percent. As economic activity normalizes, peak demand is expected to grow annually by an average of 4.3 percent per year from 2022 to 2032,” the company said in a filing with the Department of Energy (DOE).
Meralco now has over 7.6 million customers in its franchise area.
“It’s always good to have surplus power. If you don’t have surplus capacity you will face bouts of tightness which we don’t want to see. As a distributor, we want to see good margins of supply to demand,” added Pangilinan.
Aboitiz Power Corp., for its part, said demand is also expected to grow, “maybe by 600 to 7000 megawatts.”
“Although it’s El Niño, it’s still going to be tight especially during summer, but I think we will have ample supply,” said AboitizPower President Emmanuel Rubio.
He was referring to the resumption of the operations of the Ilijan plant, the dispatch of some diesel plants, and new hydro plants, among others.
“Ilijan is offering so I think they would really amp up supply…Maybe there will be times when diesel plants will be dispatched but it’s good that Ilijan is now running unlike in early 2022…In our case, the water levels in Magat are still below normal with the El Niño forecast. Hopefully, it will catch up until the end of the year,” added Rubio.
The DOE is hopeful that the country’s power supply will be adequate in the months to come given recent positive developments in the energy sector.
“We hope that this will remain stable not only this year, but with the incoming new power sources also in the next two to three years,” DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.
Among recent positive developments in the energy sector are the resumption of the Ilijan natural gas power plant of San Miguel in Batangas in supplying power to the grid, the energization of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ Hermosa-San Jose 500-kiloVolt transmission line, and some new renewable energy facilities.