Petilla: Downed plants won't cause blackouts

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 09 2014 04:14 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2014 12:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the malfunction of 12 power plants with a combined capacity of 2,200 megawatts shaved off from the grid, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla remains confident that this will not result into power outages as summer rages on.

Petilla announced on Wednesday that the yellow alert in the Luzon grid has been downgraded to white, which means there is enough reserve equivalent to more than the highest capacity plant in Luzon.

He said demand was naturally down on Wednesday because it is a holiday, but Thursday and Friday may be a different story as normal demand kicks in. The earliest that one plant on shutdown will be back on the grid will be Thursday afternoon.

The following plants are scheduled for a planned shutdown:

GN Power - 300 MW
Sta. Rita 1 - 250 MW
Calaca - 280 MW
Angat - 20 MW
Makban - 50 MW
Bacman - 50 MW

The plants on unplanned or forced shutdown are:

Pagbilao 2 - 375 MW
Masinloc - 315 MW
Malaya - 150 MW
Sta. Rita 4 - 250 MW

According to Petilla, just in case more plants bog down or demand further pick up, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will to implement the interruptible load program (ILP).

But when asked when the ILP will kick in, Petilla said it's up to Meralco if it's going to be used when blackouts set in or even before that.

Electricity hike

Meanwhile, Petilla admits the government cannot do anything to stop Meralco from implementing the spike in generation charge of P0.89 per kilowatt hour this April.

"Parang presyo lang ‘yan ng gasolina, ang nakikita lang ang pagtaas…the DOE does not buy or go into contracting," he said.

Petilla has advised Meralco to minimize or do away its exposure to the spot market since prices there are really expected to peak.

"I would advise them that this summer, you really contract, everything if possible," he said.

Militant groups are set to file a petition on Thursday at the Energy Regulatory Commission questioning the P0.89/kWh hike in generation charge.