‘Critical’ days for power supply expected in mid-February during shutdown of Malampaya

THE THIRD WEEK of February is viewed as a critical period for power supply in Luzon, based on simulations from the Department of Energy (DoE), natural gas supply from Malampaya will still be unavailable while several power plants go on maintenance shutdown.

“What is critical for me is Feb. 13 to 17,” Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella said on the sidelines of a news conference on Wednesday.

Asked about the possible impact, he said the situation could result in a “yellow alert” in Luzon, a situation when reserve power falls below the required level.

He made the assessment based on simulations that the Sual plant would be on forced outage during that week, which could take out supply of about 647 megawatts (MW).

The DoE expects the worst-case scenario during the time when the Malampaya natural gas platform in offshore Palawan is on maintenance shutdown from Jan. 28 to Feb. 16. The offshore natural gas project delivers up to 20% of the country’s electricity requirements.

In all, the Energy department expects a total supply of 1,850 MW to be out during the period — 200 MW from Calaca 1 power plant, 456 MW from Quezon Power Philippines Ltd., 600 MW from block one of Ilijan, 414 MW from San Gabriel, and 180 MW out of the 600 MW of the second block of Ilijan plant.

On average, Mr. Fuentebella said the resulting increase in electricity cost would be P1.20 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which he described as a “moving number.” The DoE previously placed the increase at P1 per kWh, which consumers can expect in their March electricity bill.

Read more here.

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