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Summer is coming, and with it comes power shortage

/ 04:50 AM February 21, 2020

The government needs a strategy to address a “power shortage looming over the Luzon grid in the coming summer of 2020,” according to National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

NGCP, in a statement, called on relevant agencies to take a closer look at the shifts in peak demand and strategize for short-term and long-term solutions. The operator of the country’s transmission grid said daily demand in Luzon was expected to peak at a new record 12,285 megawatts in May, an increase of 8.3 percent from the 11,344 MW recorded in June 2019.

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The system operator added that, for Visayas and Mindanao, peak demand in 2019 occurred in May, shifting from previous years when high demand was recorded only during the last quarter of the year.

With peak demand in all three regional grids now clustering in the same months of the year, the national system is being put under greater stress to ensure that supply is available.

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For the second quarter of 2020, NGCP said “thin electricity supply is forecast,” even with an expected incoming 700 MW capacity from new power plants.

According to NGCP, Luzon needs around 491 MW of reserves to stabilize the grid as well as maintain power equivalent to the largest plant online—usually 647 MW—as contingency power to support the grid in case of an emergency power plant shutdown.

Should the net operating margin fall below these numbers, NGCP issues a yellow alert. If the power supply falls below the system peak demand, a red alert is issued, which would then mean a need for load dropping or rotating power interruptions.

Last year, NGCP issued 50 yellow alerts and 14 red alerts between March and November. Rotating power interruptions were implemented.

At a briefing held on Thursday, the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines—which runs the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market—said combined peak power demand in Luzon and Visayas could reach a new record of 14,192 MW in June.

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