Philippines Faces Power Supply Alerts Amid Intense Heat and Plant Failures

Power supply crisis in the Philippines: Grid alerts, plant failures, and calls for conservation as demand surges amid intense heat.

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Sakchi Khandelwal
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Philippines Faces Power Supply Alerts Amid Intense Heat and Plant Failures

Philippines Faces Power Supply Alerts Amid Intense Heat and Plant Failures

The Philippines Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan announced yellow and red alerts for the Luzon and Visayas power grids, and a yellow alert for the Mindanao grid, on April 24, 2024 due to intense heat, power plant failures, and issues with a transmission line. The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) placed the Luzon grid on red alert from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., and under yellow alert from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and also from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Visayas grid was put on red alert from noon to 5 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with yellow alerts covering 10 a.m. to noon, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The NGCP reported that several power plants have been offline since 2022, 2023, and 2024, and some were running on reduced capacities, leading to a shortage of power supply and power reserves in the Luzon and Visayas power plants. In Luzon, the available capacity was 14,249 MW against a peak demand of 13,475 MW. The Visayas grid had an available capacity of 2,462 MW and a peak demand of 2,525 MW. The Mindanao grid was initially subjected to a yellow alert due to forced outages of nine power plants, but the alert was later lifted.

The highest Luzon grid peak load for the year was recorded at 14,016 megawatts (MW) on April 24, 2024, exceeding the projected peak of 13,917 MW. "We need the cooperation of the consumers to use electricity efficiently," Marasigan said, citing the need for energy conservation measures.

Senators have intensified their demands for a thorough investigation and potential penalties regarding the recurrent power outages affecting various regions of the country. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed concern over the yellow alert for Mindanao, given the region's 'excess capacity', and urged the Department of Energy to investigate the forced outages of power plants and the lack of contracted reserves. Senator Francis 'Chiz' Escudero called for the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission to hold generation companies accountable for any unreasonable or unjustified outages caused by negligence, incompetence, or internal faults within the companies.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it did not resort to manual load dropping or rotational power interruptions due to the help of its big-load customers who de-loaded from the grid. Meralco urged the public to continue practicing energy conservation and efficiency measures. Visayan Electric, a power distribution utility firm, is calling for more of its commercial and industrial customers to enroll in the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) to lessen the impact of possible power shortages on the Visayas Grid.

Why this matters: The power supply alerts and out

Key Takeaways

  • Power grids in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao faced alerts due to heat, plant failures, and transmission issues.
  • Power supply shortage led to peak demand exceeding projections in Luzon, prompting calls for conservation.
  • Senators demand investigation and penalties for recurring power outages affecting various regions.
  • Utilities urge large customers to reduce grid load and the public to practice energy efficiency.
  • Power supply issues highlight the need for reliable and resilient electricity infrastructure in the Philippines.