DELIKADO ANG LUZON GRID? Power shortage looms with Malampaya’s scheduled maintenance

Luzon power demand up in 2019

Around 600 MW to 900 MW of power capacity will be cut from the Luzon grid in October due to scheduled maintenance of some power plants and the Malampaya facility.

Manila Electric Company (Meralco) President Ray Espinosa said the maintenance shutdown of the power plants supplying the firm will occur at the same time with the scheduled maintenance shutdown of Malampaya, which also supplies around 40 percent of Meralco’s capacity requirement.

“We have alerted the DOE [Department of Energy] already that there are scheduled outages already in October as early as the first week. Within the first week, 600-900 megawatts will be out. That’s scheduled but still, it’s good to have enough supply,” Espinosa was quoted as saying.

From October 3 to 15, the Ilijan unit 1, with 600 MW capacity load, will undergo maintenance shutdown. The plant is expected to produce less capacity from October 16 to 18.

Sual 2 with a capacity of 500 MW will be on a scheduled shutdown from October 19 to November 17; San Lorenzo Module 50 with 250 MW from October 26 to 30.

From October 12 to 15, the Malampaya gas facility will be on its scheduled shutdown on October 12 to 15.

Amidst the maintenance shutdowns of these plants, Department of Energy (DOE) Director Mario Marasigan said the Malampaya shutdown is not something to worry about.

“We are coordinating with the system operator, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines. They have suggestions. It’s not critical because demand is not that big in October. It will be well managed. There are gas plants that will run on diesel, condensate,” Marasigan said.

The Luzon grid will have enough supply to last the year due to continuous decrease in demand and additional capacities coming from new power plants online, DOE Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola added in a BusinessMirror report.

Both the 300 MW Masinloc expansion project and 500 MW San Buenaventura Power Ltd. project of Meralco Power Gen Corp. are set to start this month. The two are expected to be injected into Luzon’s power grid this month.

For Malampaya’s scheduled maintenance shutdown, it will cover technical work at offshore platform (West Philippine Sea), as well as AT onshore gas plant (Batangas); repair of equipment; installation of critical spare parts; check of instrumentation and controls.

“The shutdown will allow engineering maintenance works at both onshore gas plant and offshore platform,” said Shell Philippines Exploration BV (SPEx). 

 “We are aiming to make shutdown duration as short as possible to minimize impact to natural gas supply. This shutdown is relatively short compared to previous ones,” they added.