Visayas grid also placed under red alert

By Kris Crismundo

April 19, 2024, 5:29 pm Updated on April 19, 2024, 6:11 pm

MANILA – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) placed the Visayas grid under red alert status on Friday afternoon as more plants went on unplanned outage.

From 15 power plants on shutdown early Friday, the NGCP in its updated advisory this afternoon said 18 power plants are now offline, with the addition of three more plants, namely: PDPP1 Unit 3, BDPP 2, Panay Diesel 3-C.

Adding to the shutdown of plants are the derated capacity of 10 power plants.

From 2,614 megawatts of available capacity in the morning, the Visayas grid has a lower available capacity of 2,484 MW, with 130 MW of additional unavailable power capacity to the grid.

On the other hand, the demand grew from 2,445 MW in the morning to 2,504 MW this afternoon.

“The Visayas grid was upgraded to red alert status due to higher [forecast] demand in Visayas and Mindanao, resulting in less power shared by Mindanao through the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection,” the NGCP said.

A red alert status can trigger power interruptions, as the available power reserves do not meet the maintaining level of 4 percent of peak demand.

Since April 16, the Visayas grid was placed under a yellow alert status.

In a virtual briefing Friday, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the energy stakeholders were able to respond to the situation “in a positive manner.”

Lotilla said despite the red alert status and planned manual load dropping (MLD) on Thursday, there were no rotational brownouts in the Luzon grid.

He said there were localized brownouts but those were not related to the red alert status issued by the NGCP.

ILP saves the day

Even for the franchise areas of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the country’s largest distribution utility (DU) said it did not resort to MLD thus, there were no rotational brownouts among household customers of Meralco on Thursday.

This is because of the interruptible load program (ILP), where large-load users, especially commercial and industrial customers, were requested by Meralco to utilize their own generator sets or reduce their operations, instead of relying on grid power.

This program aims to manage energy demand during red alert situations, where the power from the grid were utilized by household consumers and those without gensets.

As of April 2024, Meralco has over 100 companies across its franchise areas with a de-loading capacity of around 530 MW.

“ILP participants are paid by the DU. The payment represents the de-loading compensation equivalent to the incremental cost incurred due to the full or partial de-loading,” the DOE’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“The de-loading compensation shall be recovered from all customers of the DU as part of total cost of the DU generation rate,” it added.

In a separate message to PNA, Meralco said the cost is “very minimal.”

“Based on previous ILP activations, add-on rate is less than one-fifth of a centavo per kilowatt hour,” Meralco added. (PNA)