MANILA, MAY 13, 2013
(PHILSTAR) By Iris Gonzales - The power situation in Luzon is back to normal and supply would be sufficient for tomorrow’s elections, the Department of Energy (DOE) assured the public yesterday.

In an advisory, the DOE said Unit 1 of the Consunji-owned Calaca coal-fired power plant in Batangas went back online at 3:20 a.m. Friday and the Quezon power plant at 11:29 p.m. on Thursday.

The energy department also lifted its yellow alert on the Luzon grid yesterday.

A yellow alert means contingency reserves are below the minimum level set by the regulator but does not necessarily mean power outages or blackouts.

Latest data from the DOE showed that the available capacity in the Luzon grid stood at 8,978 megawatts (MW) against a demand of 7,777 MW and reserves of 943 MW.

At this level, the Luzon grid would continue to have sufficient supply based on historical customer demand.

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A power outage hit Luzon for about 10 hours last Thursday starting at 1:51 p.m.

The DOE said the power deficiency stemmed from the Calaca plant, which is operated by Semirara Mining Corp.

Citing a report from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the DOE said Unit 1 of the Calaca power plant tripped along with NGCP’s Calaca-Biñan 230 kilovolt line.

The tripping caused a system disturbance. The 1,218-MW Sual power station in Pangasinan, Ilijan power plant, First Gas Power’s 1,000-MW Santa Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo plants and the Quezon power plant were affected.

‘Use generators’

Meanwhile, the DOE is calling on oil companies in Mindanao to use their own generators tomorrow.

“All oil companies are strongly encouraged to use their own generators in the operations of their retail gasoline stations, depots and other facilities on Election Day, especially in Mindanao, to lessen the demand and increase the available power to the grid,” Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said in Department Circular 2013-05-0007 issued on Friday.

Petilla noted that oil companies are equipped with generators in their retail stations.

The latest supply and demand forecast indicate thin reserves in Mindanao despite the directive to run all power plants at full capacity, particularly the hydropower plant, the DOE circular noted.

Earlier, the DOE also requested members of Power Task Force Election 2013 to request power-intensive industries to cut their operation hours from May 12 to 14.

The DOE also called for a voluntary reduction in the use of power tomorrow as an additional contingency measure.

Petilla assured the public that the Election Power Task Force is ready with its contingency plans to ensure adequate power supply in the country for tomorrow’s elections.

Power supply monitoring

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has been tasked to spearhead inter-agency coordination to address any unexpected power-related incident in tomorrow’s elections.

“A power monitoring center within MinDA has been set up and will be activated on Monday to support efforts to ensure reliable power across Mindanao,” said Romeo Montenegro, MinDA director for investment promotions and public affairs.

Co-chaired by MinDA and the DOE, the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee is composed of the Energy Regulatory Commission, National Electrification Administration, National Power Corp., Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., Mindanao Electric Power Alliance and the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives. It has also enlisted the support of the National Transmission Corp. and the NGCP. – With Edith Regalado

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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