Threats of probable rotating brownouts would persist until June 10, as ‘red alert’ conditions are still foreseen in the country’s major power grid, according to the Department of Energy.

In a presentation before the House Committee on Energy, DOE Director Mario C. Marasigan indicated that power reserves will remain problematic until next week; then by second to the third weeks of the month, the grid will be on ‘yellow alert’, entailing then that there would still be insufficiency of reserves in the power system.

As of Friday (June 4), system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) declared a “white alert” or normal status for Luzon grid, meaning, there is sufficient reserve and enough capacity to meet demand.

In the week of June 4 to 10, Marasigan noted that reserve requirements in the grid would be falling below 400 megawatts – because for the grid to operate on a decent reserve, there must be at least 466MW of regulating reserve; and 647MW each of dispatchable and contingency reserves.

Further, within the stretch of June 11 to June 21, the energy official emphasized that supply conditions will already ease with the expected return-to-operation of some power plants that had been on forced outages – primarily Unit 2 of the GNPower Mariveles coal plant (of 345MW capacity) that is targeted back on-line by June 8; and Unit 2 of the Pagbilao coal plant (of 382MW capacity) by June 6.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi reiterated the rotational brownouts that happened on Monday (May 31) and Tuesday (June 1) were mainly triggered by the simultaneous outages of five power generating units that cut out supply by 2,019 megawatts.

“We lost around 2,000 megawatts of supply, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the capacity. We have the capacity, but unfortunately, the plants conked out,” the energy chief stressed.

Aside from the GNPower Mariveles and Pagbilao plants, the power facilities on forced outages had been Unit 2 of the Sual coal-fired plant with 647MW capacity; unit 2 of the Calaca coal-fired facility with 300MW; and Unit 1 of GNPower Mariveles plant of 345MW capacity.

For the Sual plant, that was already synchronized back to the grid on June 2 (Wednesday); while the Calaca plant will be back on stream by July 1 this year; and GNPower Mariveles-unit 1 by August 31.

Had the forced outages been prevented, Cusi assured that supply in the system would still be sufficient to meet demand, but he acknowledged that the other predicament confronting the country’s electricity system is the ageing state of power generating facilities.

“Why are the forced outages happening? Because many of our plants are already ‘old’, so they will need maintenance. But because of the pandemic, there were delays in the arrival of spare parts and the people needed to do the repairs cannot also go to the sites because of the enforced movement restrictions,” Cusi explained.

Source: Manila Bulletin (