NGCP warns of possible manual load dropping in Panay

By Perla Lena and Wilnard Bacelonia

February 8, 2024, 7:55 pm

<p>National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) </p>

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) 

ILOILO CITY – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) alerted consumers in Panay of possible manual load dropping to preserve the integrity of the Panay grid amid the reduced generation of Palm Concepcion Power Corporation (PCPC).

“It’s a heads-up that in the event there is deterioration in the generation or our system is threatened, we will be considering manual load dropping as a worst-case scenario. Currently, we are monitoring closely, we will be sending advisories if there are updates or developments,” Reagan Alcantara, lead specialist of the public relations of the NGCP, said Thursday.

In an advisory, NGCP said it received information on the reduction of power produced by the PCPC from 124 megawatts (MW) to 65 MW due to issues internal to the plant and the possibility that it may "cause PCPC to shut down entirely."

PCPC is one of two big power generators in Panay; the other is the Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC), but only two of its three units are operating.

PEDC’s Unit 1, with a generating capacity of 83 MW, is still on maintenance shutdown from Feb.1 to Feb. 17. Its two other units can generate around 233 MW.

NGCP data showed the afternoon peak demand of Panay Island is 486 megawatts (MW) and 453 MW in the evening.

Meanwhile in Manila, Senator Grace Poe on Thursday reiterated her call for the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to be “more proactive” in securing the power needs of the Visayas.

This was after the NGCP announced the implementation of a manual load dropping (MLD) in Western Visayas due to various issues that confronted the power plants of Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC) and Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC).

In a statement, Poe noted that while implementing the MLD, which would result in rotational brownouts, may prevent another domino effect of plant tripping and eventual collapse of the grid, “we need a more proactive stance from our sole power transmission operator."

She pointed to the urgent need for the NGCP to finish its power transmission projects, including the Cebu-Panay-Negros project, to ensure a stable power supply across the country.

"Hangga't may delay, walang seguridad ang suplay ng kuryente, hindi lamang sa Panay kundi sa buong bansa (So long as there are delays, there is no assurance of power supply, not only in Panay, but in the entire country)," Poe said.

"A responsible power transmission operator should pursue long-term solutions and not knee-jerk responses. All power providers and regulatory agencies must work together over time to restore integrity of the grid."

She likewise urged the Energy Regulatory Commission to look into NGCP’s limited visitational powers, which "effectively prevents proper monitoring of the plants."

She said power consumers should also be informed about the definite timeline as to how long the power crisis would be.

Recently, the NGCP relayed an announcement from the PCPC on reducing its power production from 124 megawatts (MW) to 65 MW due to "issues internal to the plant."

Meanwhile, PEDC Unit 1 is still on maintenance shutdown until Feb. 17.

With these, NGCP said they may implement MLD "to preserve the integrity of the Panay sub-grid pursuant to the provisions of the Philippine Grid Code."

On Jan. 2, a massive power outage hit Panay Island and other parts of Western Visayas, which prompted the Senate to look into the problem. (PNA)