Over a week after the gas restriction from Malampaya was lifted, production was once again limited on Monday, affecting the country’s five gas-fired power plants and posing another supply shortage in the Luzon Grid.
Based on a Manila Bulletin report, the Ilijan plant was derated yet again to just above 700 megawatts (MW) from the 1,200MW it’s supposed to contribute to the Luzon Grid, according to sources.
Meanwhile, the plants owned by First Gen Corporation, namely Avion, San Gabriel, San Lorenzo, and Sta. Rita had to shift to condensate fuel, as the gas restriction affected four generating units. Condensate fuel is more expensive compared to Malampaya gas.
On Tuesday, Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) Vice President and Head of Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez said that the Luzon Grid was still on White Alert, meaning that supply is stable. But at around 2PM, considered the daily peak demand hour, demand was at 10,339MW, while available capacity was at 11,965MW for an operating margin of 1,626MW, which is still considered a slim margin for that time.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate warned that the country would be in for a “much bigger energy problem” with the gas field’s dwindling supply, which reportedly would happen as early as 2022 — an election year.