DOE reiterates need for Malaya Power Plant to be considered as MRU

January 23, 2014 8:54 am 

By Joann Santiago

MANILA, Jan. 22 (PNA) -– Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla on Wednesday reiterated the need to reconsider the Malaya Thermal Power Plant as a must-run unit (MRU) and not a regular power plant due to its inability to compete with other power plants.

An MRU is power plant that will be tapped to provide capacity under certain circumstances such as low supply situation.

Petila, during the hearing of the House Committee on Energy, said the power plant is now old, thus, its ability to operate to its fullest has somewhat dwindled.

He said diesel-fired power plants can usually start in as short as 15 minutes when tapped to dispatch capacity but in the case of Malaya it takes hours.

He also disclosed that Malaya was designed for base load capacity or to provide capacity at its minimum unlike others that are for peak load or non-stop maximum capacity.

“Malaya works if it is tapped by the S.O. (system operator),” he said.

Petilla said the current situation of Malaya is the reason why the Energy Department has proposed that it be considered only as an MRU.

He said the Department of Energy (DOE) has tapped the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) to study the proposal.

Meanwhile, it was noted during the hearing that the 650-megawatt power plant failed to provide capacity when the one-month maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya oil-to-gas power project was accompanied by unscheduled shutdown of some power plants.

The shutdown of several power plants in the latter part of 2013 was the reason used for the record-high P4.15 per kilowatt hour spike in transmission rate to be collected by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) in a three-month period, which supposedly started last December.

During the hearing, lawmakers questioned why the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) failed to dispatch capacity from the government-owned Malaya Power Plant.

PSALM President and chief executive officer Emmanuel R. Ledesma said they did not dispatch capacity because NGCP records show that there remains to have enough power supply and cited that running the facility would entail more losses for the government because its rates are not as competitive as the other power plants.

He said that for a 31-day period, the power plant’s losses would be about P967 million to P1.35 billion. (PNA)

LGI/JS/UTB

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