DOE orders power firms to ensure adequate electricity supply

March 5, 2010 11:14 pm 

By Marie S. Neri

MANILA, March 5 –The Department of Energy (DOE) has directed all power companies to ensure "adequate and reliable electric power supply in the country" after the Luzon and Mindanao grid continue to encounter power disruptions.

Invoking section 2 of the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) law, the DOE issued circular 2010-03-0003, directing that "all generation companies shall ensure the availability of its generation facilities at all times subkect only to technical constrainsts duly communicated by the SO (Systems Operator)."

The National Grid Corp., of the Philippines (NGCP) is the country's systems operator.

The circular also directed the generation companies to operate in "accordance to their maximimum available capacity while oil-based generation companies shall maintain an adequate in-country stocks of fuel to at least 15 days running inventory which includes shipments in transit."

On the other hand, coal power plants should ensure the required 30-day coal running inventory, which includes shipments in transit.

The DOE, with the scheduled maintenance of Malampaya natural gas facilities, also mandated the affected generation companies to maintain at least 15 days running inventory of the alternative fuel and to operate at full capacity.

The circular also ordered the National Tranmission Corp., (TransCo) including its concessionaire NGCP, to ensure that the transmission facilities under the DO-approved Transmission Development Plan, are adequately provided and available for access by all electricity users in all areas of the grid.

The DOE circular signed last February 26 took effect Friday.

In related developments, NGCP said rotating brownouts will continue to happen in the Luzon and Mindanao grids.

The NGCP said that as of 5:57 p.m. Friday, the Luzon grid posted a reserve of 101 megawatts (MW) after Unit 1 of the 600-MW Masinloc coal-fired power plant was reconnected to the grid with 315 MW output.

"Masinloc 1 (315 MW) was already put online today. Plant owner and operator AES Corp. fasttracked repair works and made the plant available a day ahead of schedule," NGCP said.

The Limay power plant Block A and Block B units also produced 255 MW and 270 MW, respectively.

CBK Power Company's Kalayaan hydro power plant has one operational unit with a declared capacity 170 to 180 MW as of Friday afternoon.

NGCP said it expected another unit will increase the plant's capacity utilization during the evening peak hours on Friday, provided that the elevation at Caliraya Lake remained at 286.08 meters, the minimum requirement to run at least two units.

Luzon has posted 6,482 MW peak demand Friday, lower than the 6,583 MW available capacity

The Mindanao grid's generation deficiency further increased Friday from 650 MW on Thursday to 700 MW Friday.

According to NGCP "no new power plants are expected to come online Friday night that could increase the available capacities in Mindanao.

Peak demand for Mindanao reached 1,451 MW as against the available capacity of 751 MW.

The National Power Corp.-owned Agus hydroelectric plants have a total available capacity of 65 MW out of the total rated capacity of 727 MW while Pulangi plant has only 20 MW out of the total rated capacity of 255 MW.

Visayas grid will continue to enjoy uninterrupted power supply on Friday after it posted reserves of about 53 MW.

However, NGCP said this will not be enough to export power to Luzon. (PNA)

RMA/MSN

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