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Summer heat drives Luzon power demand to new peak

MANILA, Philippines–The Luzon grid recorded its highest electricity demand to date this year at 8,791 megawatts (MW) on May 6 at 2:08 p.m., the Department of Energy (DOE) said in a statement.

While there was enough power supply to serve such demand, the DOE urged all consumers in Luzon to practice energy efficiency, the DOE said.

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Total power capacity for the Luzon grid on that day stood at 10,462MW, leaving a “comfortable” reserve level of 1,671MW.

Consumers can help manage demand surges by turning cooling systems to 25 degrees Celsius particularly during the weekday peak hours (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) in the grid.

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This undertaking, if done collectively, by all establishments and homes, can potentially decrease the energy demand in significant levels, outgoing Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said.

This reduces the possibility of power situations from happening at this time of the year, he said.

Petilla said that the 25 degrees feels relatively comfortable if compared with the 32 degrees outdoors.

The DOE said it will continue to coordinate with all concerned agencies and calls the public to be more responsible energy consumers.

The Malampaya turnaround in March and April was completed without major hitches in the Luzon grid but authorities are still watching power demand, which traditionally peaks in May. DOE said there may also be critical periods, partly due to higher power demand amid the use of cooling appliances, until July.

Luzon had power reserves of about 1,500 MW during the Malampaya shutdown from March 15 to April 14, said Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali Jr., chairperson of the House Committee on Energy, in a phone interview.

The Malampaya gas platform off Palawan was on temporary shutdown from March 15 to April 14 while operators installed a new platform to maintain its output until 2024. This temporary shutdown affected gas-fired power plants that collectively supply about 40 percent of Luzon’s electricity.

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The gas-fired power plants affected had to shift to more expensive liquid fuel, which affected power rates for March and April, but the Luzon grid was otherwise spared from major hitches such as massive power outages due to brief periods of lower-than-expected temperature, as well as preparations by energy stakeholders.

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TAGS: DoE, electricity, Luzon grid
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