More Red, Yellow Alerts expected until July

NGCP facility

The Department of Energy (DOE) has warned of the possible reimposition of Red and Yellow Alerts in the Luzon Grid, and thus rotating brownouts, until July.

At the Senate Committee on Energy’s hearing on Thursday, DOE Electric Power Industry Management Bureau Director Mario Marasigan said that the rotating brownouts may happen if the 668-megawatt (MW) Unit 1 of the GNPower Dinginin (GNPD) coal plant in Mariveles, Bataan won’t go online by next week.

The entry of GNPower Dinginin, the country’s newest major plant, is critical. This is given that the 300MW Unit 1 of neighboring GNPower Mariveles remains on extended outage, while the 647MW Unit 1 of the Sual plant in Pangasinan is scheduled for shutdown next month. 

GNPD Vice President Roberto Racelis, Jr. said that Unit 1 is expected to fully operate by the end of August. Aboitiz Power Corporation, which owns both the Dinginin and Mariveles plants, earlier said it was hoping that GNPD would enter the grid by next week.

A Red Alert is declared when a grid’s regulating reserve is between 200-400MW. On the other hand, a Yellow Alert is issued when reserves fall below ideal levels.

Meanwhile, the 1,200MW Ilijan gas plant in Batangas City is up for maintenance this July following its derating due to the gas restriction from the Malampaya field in Palawan. The derating contributed to the Red Alerts two weeks ago.

In a separate statement, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi emphasized the importance of transmission in ensuring the delivery of electricity services to consumers. He particularly noted the continued stranded capacities in Mindanao, Negros, and Zambales due to congested transmission lines or incomplete transmission projects, while emphasizing the need for these to be completed as national grid interconnection would augment and make efficient the flow of power supply throughout the country.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which operates the grids, has previously said that the recent Red Alerts reflect a supply problem and not of transmission. NGCP recently announced that it will hold a competitive bidding process in compliance with the DOE’s ancillary services policy. Nonetheless, it has warned of price spikes in electric bills.