NGCP says it was not at fault in failure to dispatch Malaya plant

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 29 2014 07:47 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2014 03:47 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the country’s power transmission operator, reiterated yesterday that it was not at fault when it did not dispatch the 650-megawatt Malaya thermal power plant in Rizal because there was enough supply.

It said that in compliance with electricity market rules, it dispatches only those generating plants that are included in the real-time dispatch (RTD) schedule, which is provided by market operator Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC).

PEMC operates the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), the country’s trading floor for electricity.

“During the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility from Nov. 11 to Dec. 10, 2013, the RTD did not include Malaya the thermal power plant. Records show that supply during that period, as provided by WESM, was enough and that there was no system security issues that would trigger the call for must run units (MRUs),” NGCP said.

An MRU call means that the power plant will be put online to ensure that there is enough reserve to meet the security requirements of the grid.

“In this case, given the market conditions, Malaya thermal power plant, with a design capacity of 650 MW, was neither included in the RTD nor assigned as an MRU for the period of Nov. 8 to Dec. 1, 2013,” NGCP said.

Instead, NGCP only requested PSALM to dispatch the Malaya facility from Dec. 2 to 10, when the required level of reserve fell short.

PSALM or the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., is the government corporation tasked to manage the government’s power assets including the Malaya plant.

“The system operator NGCP could not have called Malaya as an MRU on Nov. 8 to Dec. 1 since per technical considerations, there was no grid situation that would require NGCP to call Malaya for MRU,” it said.

NGCP made the reiteration after some sectors blamed it for failure to call on the Malaya facility during the one-month shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility.

Power generators have blamed the government for not dispatching the Malaya plant, saying that this would have augmented supply, which would have prevented electricity prices from skyrocketing.

During the Malampaya shutdown the generation charge – a huge component of electricity bills – of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) rose by P3.44 per kilowatt-hour to P9.10 per kwh.

The Supreme Court has issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the record high rate increase.