‘Yellow alert’ in Luzon as San Lorenzo power plant trips

By Kris Crismundo

July 11, 2023, 2:53 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo by Ben Briones)</em></p>

(PNA file photo by Ben Briones)

MANILA – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has put the Luzon grid under yellow alert from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, as San Lorenzo natural gas power plant modules tripped this morning.

According to the NGCP, the available capacity in Luzon grid for Tuesday is at 12,705 megawatts (MW) while peak demand is expected at 12,222 MW.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said in a statement that the decline in power capacity in the Luzon grid was due to “the tripping of San Lorenzo natural gas power plant modules 50 and 60 at 267 MW each at around 10:58 a.m. causing the decline in grid frequency to 58.915 hertz (Hz)”.

“A yellow alert is issued when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement,” the NGCP said on its Twitter account.

The DOE said the NGCP and the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) initiated load dropping since the tripping of San Lorenzo plant, but power was already restored at 11:04 a.m. for NGCP and at 11:06 a.m. for Meralco.

“At 10:58 a.m., an automatic load dropping (ALD) occurred due to a tripping that led to the decrease of 396 MW in Meralco’s supply. The service interruption affected approximately 500,000 Meralco customers in portions of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Quezon. Power was fully restored by 11:06 a.m. or after eight minutes,” Meralco said in a press statement.

It said that in response to NGCP’s yellow alert in Luzon grid, Meralco has activated its Interruptible Load Program and has secured de-loading commitments from its large consumers of electricity.

“These customers will be on standby in case there’s a need to de-load to help avoid service interruptions. We continue to monitor the situation and are ready to implement contingency measures as needed,” Meralco added.

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the government "to proactively implement policy changes that would permanently and sustainably reduce” consumers' electricity bills.

In a statement, she said Meralco's overall electricity rate reduction of PHP0.72 to PHP11.18 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) this month, from PHP11.91 per kWh in June, is minimal and temporary.

She expects President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to address improper practices in the power sector during the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.

Hontiveros added that the Energy Regulatory Commission and the DOE should correct and monitor power supply agreements between generation companies and distribution utilities, as well as optimize and adjust system operations because fraudulent contracts, power shortages, and delayed transmission projects directly affect consumers. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)