POWER ALERT IN LUZON

A unit of the Masinloc coal-fired power plant in Zambales broke down yesterday, fueling concerns over possible blackouts in Luzon this summer due to tight power supply. The Luzon power grid was placed on yellow alert after Unit 2 of the 600-megawatt power plant went on an emergency shutdown at 7:53 a.m. because of a boiler tube leak, affecting 300 MW, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP). Mylene Capongcol, Department of Energy (DOE) Electric Power Industry Management Bureau director, said it would take up to three days before the Masinloc plant goes back online. Boiler tube leaks are problems encountered by plant boilers and their super heater pipes as a result of wear and tear because of erosion and corrosion during use. “We are on yellow alert until Wednesday. We expect supply to normalize on Thursday because of the Holy Week break,” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Perez-Alabanza told reporters. She said Luzon was on yellow alert during peak hours or from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. yesterday and today. The projected peak demand yesterday was 7,430 MW as against available capacity of 7,885 MW.

ALSO: 10-hour brownout hits Agusan Sur

San Francisco, Agusan del Sur – composed of one city and 13 municipalities – is now experiencing 10-hour rotating brownouts due to the curtailment scheme imposed by the state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). All mining, agricultural companies and other industrial firms in the province have also been informed of power cuts that will last at least two hours everyday. Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative (ASELCO) has an average demand of up to 25 megawatt but its present power supply is only 19.5 MW. The cooperative imposes brownouts upon notification of the NGCP. To date, NGCP has no definite schedule to guide ASELCO to set a schedule for rotating brownouts, except for its daily power outlook published daily in its website (www.ngcp.com). However, despite the power problem, ASELCO has announced that things are in place to address the power shortage now experienced by the cooperatives’ 110,105 customers.

ALSO: Public in for waterless days, power shortage

PARTS of Luzon may have to prepare for water supply interruptions this Holy Week and a potential shortage of electricity next month as a result of thinning power reserves, officials said on Tuesday. Manila Water, the concessionaire for Metro Manila’s East Zone, said its operations and services would remain normal but Maynilad, the concessionaire for Metro Manila’s West Zone, said consumers in parts of the metropolis including Cavite may have to brace themselves for a water shortage. Maynilad said the water supply interruptions would result from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ efforts to address the problem of perennial flooding in Manila. The company said an interceptor drainage box culvert to be built by the department along Blumentritt Street will cross Maynilad’s water pipe along Juan Luna and Hermosa Streets, so it must realign that pipe. “We will need 72 hours to expose, de-water, re-align and energize our pipe because it is a seven-foot-tall primary line,” Maynilad said. The Department of Energy said the Luzon grid will go no yellow alert today but will return to normal on Thursday following the going off-line of the Masinloc-2 power plant in Zambales on Tuesday. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the 300-megawatt Pagbilao power plant was also on an extended shutdown. Moreover, the Malampaya natural gas facility will go on a scheduled maintenance shutdown today, affecting its generating capacity. The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said the yellow alert will take effect at the peak hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. A yellow alert indicates that the power reserve in the Luzon grid is less than 600 megawatts.

ALSO: Luzon grid has enough power supply for Holy Week – industry officials

Despite the shutdown of two power plants and the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility, the Luzon grid has adequate supply and ample reserve during the Holy Week, industry officials said Wednesday. The demand during the long weekend is expected to drop dramatically from normal levels, the officials noted. "Our outlook is we have adequate supply and we can meet the reserve requirement for the long weekend," Mylene Capongcol, director of the Department of Energy Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, told GMA News Online. "Historically, demand during Holy Week is low so we have enough supply," she added. The typically low demand for energy during Holy Week, fortunately, has saved Luzon from the possibility of a widespread brownout. Reserves are usually thin in summer with Luzon under yellow alert most of the time even if brownout is not imminent, according to NGCP. Most offices and shopping malls are closed, said Cynthia Perez-Alabanza, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) spokesperson, sharing the view of the DOE official. "Traditionally, mababa ang demand, since wala nang mga pasok, nawawala ang demand from offices, malls," Perez-Alabanza said. In fact, the demand for power demand has already dropped even before the start of the long weekend, according to distribution utility Manila Electric Co. (Meralco)"Typically, starting Thursday, mababa na ang demand. Before the start of holidays, bumababa na ang demand," Meralco head of utility economics Larry Fernandez said in a separate interview. The Luzon grid will have enough supply unless an unforeseen breakdown of another power plant takes place. "We can't discount na walang mangyayaring brownout but we have enough supply for the long weekend," Fernandez said.

ALSO: Maynilad lists villages to go dry during Holy Week

Maynilad on Thursday announced the list of villages where water service will be interrupted during the Holy Week. In an interview with Inquirer Radio 990AM on Thursday, Maynilad corporate communications assistant vice president Cherubim Mojica said the following villages in Manila, Caloocan, Navotas and Malabon will be short of water for up to three days. Caloocan – Villages 8, 12, 14, 21-51
Malabon – Barangay (village) Longos Navotas – Barangay Bangkulasi North Bay Boulevard North, North Bay Boulevard South, San Rafael Village Manila – Villages 1-186 198-202, 202A, 203-222, 227-233, and 275 Water service will be interrupted in these areas because of a flood control project by the Department of Public Works and Highways. The work will hit the existing primary line there, Mojica said. Water tankers will visit those villages to ease the water interruption, Mojica added. Meanwhile, one to two days water service interruption will also hit some villages in other parts of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, South Caloocan, Navotas, Pasay, Makati and some barangays in Cavite, particularly in Imus, Kawit, Bacoor and Cavite city, Mojica said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.


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Power alert in Luzon

MANILA, APRIL 21, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Iris Gonzales - A unit of the Masinloc coal-fired power plant in Zambales broke down yesterday, fueling concerns over possible blackouts in Luzon this summer due to tight power supply.

The Luzon power grid was placed on yellow alert after Unit 2 of the 600-megawatt power plant went on an emergency shutdown at 7:53 a.m. because of a boiler tube leak, affecting 300 MW, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Mylene Capongcol, Department of Energy (DOE) Electric Power Industry Management Bureau director, said it would take up to three days before the Masinloc plant goes back online.

Boiler tube leaks are problems encountered by plant boilers and their super heater pipes as a result of wear and tear because of erosion and corrosion during use.

“We are on yellow alert until Wednesday. We expect supply to normalize on Thursday because of the Holy Week break,” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Perez-Alabanza told reporters.

She said Luzon was on yellow alert during peak hours or from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. yesterday and today. The projected peak demand yesterday was 7,430 MW as against available capacity of 7,885 MW.

A yellow alert status means that contingency reserves are below the minimum level set by the regulator, but does not necessarily mean power outages or blackouts. A red alert means there is severe power deficiency while normal alert means there are no deficiencies in supply and reserves. A white alert means the situation is back to normal.

24-hour shutdown

The emergency shutdown of Masinloc came after a scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility for 24 hours starting today.

“Malampaya will go on 24-hour shutdown. By Thursday or Wednesday evening, we will lose another 600 MW but usually Thursday and holidays we have low consumption,” Petilla said in a television interview.

The Malampaya gas restriction will cut the output of the Ilijan natural gas power plant to 600 MW from 1,200 MW.

Several other power plants are either on extended maintenance or forced outage.

These include Unit 2 of the Consunji Group’s Calaca Power Plant in Batangas, affecting 300 MW. The plant is on extended scheduled maintenance shutdown until May 1; GN Power’s Unit 1, affecting 326 MW, which is on forced outage from April 5 to 19; Unit 2 of Limay Plant, affecting 70 MW, which has been down since Feb. 28 as well as Unit 6 of the plant, which has been out since April; and Unit 2 of the Pagbilao Plant in Quezon, affecting 382 MW from April 7 to 17, according to data from NGCP.

Enough supply

Meanwhile, NGCP has assured the public that there will be enough power supply this summer.

Lilibeth Gaydowen, North Luzon regional corporate communications and public affairs officer, said the country’s power transmission service provider has stable supply to meet the demands of electricity consumers.

The NGCP is transmitting power supply from all available sources, she added.

She said the forecasted demand in Luzon has increased, but they are utilizing various sources to meet the needs of consumers and address the problem of power outage.

However, Gaydowen said the public is advised to observe safety precautions when dealing with the power firm’s transmission structures to avoid accidents.

“Do not build a fire near or build houses under the transmission structures since fire could cause power interruptions in your area. Report to NGCP any incident of leaning and damaged poles or towers and sagging power lines,” she said.

She also warned against kite flying near transmission lines as well as climbing transmission structures. – With Artemio Dumlao

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

10-hour brownout hits Agusan Sur by Mike Crismundo April 17, 2014

San Francisco, Agusan del Sur – composed of one city and 13 municipalities – is now experiencing 10-hour rotating brownouts due to the curtailment scheme imposed by the state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

All mining, agricultural companies and other industrial firms in the province have also been informed of power cuts that will last at least two hours everyday.

Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative (ASELCO) has an average demand of up to 25 megawatt but its present power supply is only 19.5 MW.

The cooperative imposes brownouts upon notification of the NGCP. To date, NGCP has no definite schedule to guide ASELCO to set a schedule for rotating brownouts, except for its daily power outlook published daily in its website (www.ngcp.com).

However, despite the power problem, ASELCO has announced that things are in place to address the power shortage now experienced by the cooperatives’ 110,105 customers.

The Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) and Mapalad Power Corp. (MPC) had played a vital role in alleviating the power curtailment, sources said.

ASELCO had tied up 5,000 kilowatt power from TMI and another 10,000 kilowatt power from MPC, and some 4,500 to more than 8,000 kilowatt from National Power Corporation- Power Sector Assets/ Liabilities and Management Corp. (NPC-PSALM).

ASELCO General Manager Emmanuel B. Galarce, said the cooperative opted to use the voluntary curtailment scheme to maximize the power load that ASELCO receives from the market and shorten the brownouts that the province is currently experiencing.

“The voluntary curtailment scheme that we chose will enable us to maximize the load that we receive from the three sources. I can say this because we will only cut the exact power excess every time our supplier calls us to slow down our consumption and not the whole shortage as recommended. For example, the supplier tells us to curtail three megawatts for an hour, so we look for an area where we cut only 2.4 megawatts, so that the whole province will not suffer the brownout,” Galarce explained.

The 33-member Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative (AMRECO) has been facing a big challenge brought by the power problem in Mindanao which started Feb. 27. Two units of the STEAG Coal-Fired Power Plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, malfunctioned, while other power plants – the 52 MW Geothermal Plant in Davao del Sur Agus HEP, Lanao del Sur and Pulangi HEP in Bukidnon also operated with reduced capacities due to technical breakdown, said Engr. Ruel E. Cabañero, Acting Chief, Operation and Maintenance of ASELCO.

Galarse assured consumers that the cooperative has completed contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) such as Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC), Therma South Incorporated (TSI), GN Power and AMRECO-PSAGCOR which will be fully operational from 2016 onwards.

“Supply of power is forecasted to stabilize in 2017 when all new power plants in Mindanao will go in full commercial operation,” he said.

“We are working on a solution to address our power needs,” stressed Galarse, in an exclusive interview with Manila Bulletin.

The ASELCO top official cited the operation of the 5-megawatt Peak Power Bunker-Fuelled Plant here by the end of August this year. “The 24/7 ground work of this 5 megawatts bunker power located beside our main building here will also address the demand for electric power,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ASELCO official extended his gratitude to President Aquino for the P10 million calamity fund assistance for the rehabilitation of the distribution facilities damaged by typhoon “Sendong.”

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Public in for waterless days, power shortage By Joyce Pangco Panares, Alena Mae S. Flores and Rey E. Requejo | Apr. 16, 2014 at 12:01am

PARTS of Luzon may have to prepare for water supply interruptions this Holy Week and a potential shortage of electricity next month as a result of thinning power reserves, officials said on Tuesday.

Manila Water, the concessionaire for Metro Manila’s East Zone, said its operations and services would remain normal but Maynilad, the concessionaire for Metro Manila’s West Zone, said consumers in parts of the metropolis including Cavite may have to brace themselves for a water shortage.

Maynilad said the water supply interruptions would result from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ efforts to address the problem of perennial flooding in Manila.

The company said an interceptor drainage box culvert to be built by the department along Blumentritt Street will cross Maynilad’s water pipe along Juan Luna and Hermosa Streets, so it must realign that pipe.

“We will need 72 hours to expose, de-water, re-align and energize our pipe because it is a seven-foot-tall primary line,” Maynilad said.

The Department of Energy said the Luzon grid will go no yellow alert today but will return to normal on Thursday following the going off-line of the Masinloc-2 power plant in Zambales on Tuesday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the 300-megawatt Pagbilao power plant was also on an extended shutdown.

Moreover, the Malampaya natural gas facility will go on a scheduled maintenance shutdown today, affecting its generating capacity.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said the yellow alert will take effect at the peak hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

A yellow alert indicates that the power reserve in the Luzon grid is less than 600 megawatts.

“With the gas restriction of the Malampaya plant [on Wednesday], we might be on yellow alert but we expect normalization by Thursday,” Coloma said, citing a report from the Department of Energy.

But Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla was cautious.

“There [will be] no [blackouts]. Up to the end of the month [April] we do not see any problem, but for May we will never know because it’s very sensitive, [the power] reserves are very thin,” Petilla said earlier in a television interview.

Meralco’s rates spiked by P0.89 per kilowatt hour this month as a result of the tight power supply last month. The company also expects its generation charge to go up by P1.72 per kilowatt hour next month.

Meanwhile, the Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a program of Manila Electric Co. encouraging the large power users to operate generators to boost the power supply during the peak dry season.

The Makabayan bloc in Congress and the group People Opposed to Unwarranted Electricity Rates urged the Supreme Court to extend its order enjoining Meralco and the Energy Regulatory Commission from implementing Meralco’s rate increase of P4.15 per kilowatt hour.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Maynilad lists villages to go dry during Holy Week INQUIRER.net 2:33 pm | Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 66 1946


File photo/Profimedia.com, UPPA News

MANILA, Philippines – Maynilad on Thursday announced the list of villages where water service will be interrupted during the Holy Week.

In an interview with Inquirer Radio 990AM on Thursday, Maynilad corporate communications assistant vice president Cherubim Mojica said the following villages in Manila, Caloocan, Navotas and Malabon will be short of water for up to three days.

Caloocan – Villages 8, 12, 14, 21-51
Malabon – Barangay (village) Longos
Navotas – Barangay Bangkulasi North Bay Boulevard North, North Bay Boulevard South, San Rafael Village
Manila – Villages 1-186 198-202, 202A, 203-222, 227-233, and 275

Water service will be interrupted in these areas because of a flood control project by the Department of Public Works and Highways. The work will hit the existing primary line there, Mojica said.

Water tankers will visit those villages to ease the water interruption, Mojica added.

Meanwhile, one to two days water service interruption will also hit some villages in other parts of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, South Caloocan, Navotas, Pasay, Makati and some barangays in Cavite, particularly in Imus, Kawit, Bacoor and Cavite city, Mojica said.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Luzon grid has enough power supply for Holy Week – industry officials By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsApril 16, 2014 2:10pm 11 12 0 81

Despite the shutdown of two power plants and the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility, the Luzon grid has adequate supply and ample reserve during the Holy Week, industry officials said Wednesday.

The demand during the long weekend is expected to drop dramatically from normal levels, the officials noted.

"Our outlook is we have adequate supply and we can meet the reserve requirement for the long weekend," Mylene Capongcol, director of the Department of Energy Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, told GMA News Online.

"Historically, demand during Holy Week is low so we have enough supply," she added.

The typically low demand for energy during Holy Week, fortunately, has saved Luzon from the possibility of a widespread brownout. Reserves are usually thin in summer with Luzon under yellow alert most of the time even if brownout is not imminent, according to NGCP.

Most offices and shopping malls are closed, said Cynthia Perez-Alabanza, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) spokesperson, sharing the view of the DOE official. "Traditionally, mababa ang demand, since wala nang mga pasok, nawawala ang demand from offices, malls," Perez-Alabanza said.

In fact, the demand for power demand has already dropped even before the start of the long weekend, according to distribution utility Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

"Typically, starting Thursday, mababa na ang demand. Before the start of holidays, bumababa na ang demand," Meralco head of utility economics Larry Fernandez said in a separate interview.

The Luzon grid will have enough supply unless an unforeseen breakdown of another power plant takes place.

"We can't discount na walang mangyayaring brownout but we have enough supply for the long weekend," Fernandez said.

A normal work week during these sweltering days, when air conditioners use up lots of energy to cool down concrete office jungles, could have made the power situation more precarious. But this is why maintenance shutdowns are scheduled during this time of year.

Malampaya to use liquid fuel temporarily

In an interview aired on GMA News' "Unang Balita" Wednesday, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said Malampaya started to undergo a 36-hour partial maintenance shutdown but those plants running on natural gas will temporarily use liquid fuel for uninterrupted operations and flow of power supply.

Petilla said two power plants are out. Unit 2 of the Masinloc coal-fired power plant in Zambales broke down Tuesday due to a boiler leak, and Unit 2 of the Pagbilao plant in Quezon province is on scheduled outage.

Despite the plant outages, the Energy chief reiterated that there is a low possibility of brownouts.

"Wala namang assurance 'yan kasi pag limang planta bumagsak, lagot tayo. Pero ang likelihood na mangyayari 'yan ay maliit. Ang masasabi ko lang, remote ang possibility na magka-brownout ngayong Semana Santa," Petilla said.

Yellow alert lifted

On Wednesday morning, the NGCP lifted the yellow alert over the Luzon grid after the power reserve went up to 692 megawatts (MW) based on its 6 a.m. power situation outlook.

NGCP defines a “yellow alert” as a system condition where the total reserve is less than the capacity of the largest plant online. For the Luzon grid, this is 647 MW.

But this does not necessarily mean brownouts will take place, NGCP's Alabanza said.

"Under yellow alert, we have normal supply but we're low on power reserve, which should be at 647 MW, equivalent to the highest power plant online which is a unit of Sual (power plant in Pangasinan)," she said.

During the hot, dry season, the NGCP official said reserves are always thin and Luzon is under yellow alert most of the time but brownout is not imminent.

"Imminent brownout happens only during red alert, when supply is lower than demand," Alabanza said.

"For the entire summer, walang imminent na brownout unless may unscheduled outage," she added.

In late March, the NGCP said its transmission facilities – transmission towers, lines, and substations – were adequate to transmit available power to the grid during the summer.

In Luzon, the highest peak demand is forecast at 8,654 MW for the month of May, higher than actual peak demand 8,305 MW a year earlier. – VS/HS, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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