Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has instructed the Power Industry Management Bureau to investigate if the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has done its mandate to prevent any power interruption.
The directive came after the NGCP has warned that there could be a thin supply this summer due to higher demand in the new normal, which is feared to adversely affect the national elections day
“So, what is NGCP doing about it?” Cusi asked in a statement sent to Daily Tribune on Thursday afternoon.
“In addition to its public advisory, the DoE is very interested to hear from them about the steps they have taken, or are taking, to address the situation, particularly in preventing the occurrence of a power interruption,” Cusi said.
Cusi added that the NGCP, as transmission system and grid operator, is “very much aware” that there is an increased demand for power during the warmer season, and that a reduced supply of energy during these same dry months is an annual occurrence.
Particularly, Cusi said the bureau will look if the NGCP made sure that all power stations are available, congestion issues are connected, and that Grid Operating Maintenance Program (GOMP) was thoroughly planned.
The bureau will also ensure that the reserves are contracted from a separate pool of capacity for ancillary services which can be tapped in cases of emergency.
“The DoE is spearheading efforts to bring the power industry together to work toward a holistic solution. The NGCP is expected to perform its responsibilities that contribute to the adequacy of supply, and more so this year as we will be holding national elections this summer,” Cusi pointed out.
Tight supply on elections day
On Tuesday, the NGCP said thin operating margins or the power in excess of demand, which is used to manage and balance the grid, is forecast in the Luzon grid from April to June due to an increase in demand during the summer.
Thus, the NGCP has asked policymakers to immediately explore demand-side management strategies to mitigate the projected supply shortfall in the summer months that could affect the day of the polls.
The DoE expects a total peak demand of 12,387 megawatts (MW) for Luzon to occur in the last week of May, a 747MW increase from the actual 2021 peak load of 11,640MW which occurred on 28 May 2021.
For the Visayas, the peak demand occurred in December, mainly due to the activity brought about by the holiday season, while in Mindanao, the peak demand occurred in August.
“NGCP coordinates the preparation and submission to the DoE of an annual GOMP, which is the consolidated preventive maintenance schedules of power plants, considering the needed supply to meet the projected demand,” the NGCP said.
The 2022 GOMP was approved by the DoE on 10 January. In compliance with the directive of the DoE, no maintenance shutdowns were scheduled during the summer months.
As early as January, some generating units extended their maintenance shutdowns while others derated to decrease their committed generation output.
As a result, yellow alerts were issued on 10 and 11 January.
However, the NGCP, as a transmission service provider, said it can only give an overview of the current supply and demand situation and endeavor to dispatch available grid resources.
“It cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation,” the company said.