'Luzon has enough power supply for Lenten break'

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2014 11:16 AM | Updated as of Apr 17 2014 03:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Thanks to cloudy weather and the early Holy Week break of several offices and factories, the entire Luzon did not experience rotating power interruptions during Wednesday morning's peak at 11 a.m.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the total electricity supply stands at around 8,300 to 8,400 megawatts versus a demand of 7,400 megawatts, or an excess of 900 megawatts.

"Wala tayong brownout," he said. "Mababa ang demand ngayon kasi nagsisimula ang mga tao mag-bakasyon... Estimate lang ang natin ang supply 8,300 to 8,400 MW. Ang consumo ay 7,400 at the peak... So may excess na mga 900 to 1,000 MW which does not put us at yellow alert."

He said excess or reserve electricity is expected in the afternoon until Wednesday night as more offices are expected to close for the Holy Week break.

He added that there will be no supply problem for the rest of the Holy Week until Easter Sunday.

For Monday, Petilla also sees no problem since the Malampaya's 36-hour partial shutdown will be over and several plants that were on shutdown will come back online.

White alert

Meanwhile, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) issued a statement Wednesday announcing that its franchise area will be on white alert, meaning there is more than enough reserves to cover demand.

Meralco said First Gas in plants Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo, which run on natural gas, agreed to use liquid fuel instead of natural gas for the duration of the Malampaya facility.

The limited natural gas supply from Malampaya will be fully alloted to Ilijan so that it can maximize its operation instead of also shutting down a unit. According to Meralco, doing this will also lessen its exposure to the spot market where prices are currently volatile.

For the supply outlook in the coming weeks, Meralco said it will continue to closely monitor the situation and coordinate with the national grid and the Department of Energy.

Meanwhile, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has clarified that even if the temporary restraining order on the spike of P4.15 for the December bill, Meralco cannot implement the hike.

According to ERC executive director Atty. Francis Juan, Meralco still needs to ask permission from the commission to recover the amount.

Juan said the P4.15 will no longer be the actual increase, explaining that after a recalculation, the actual spike will be lower than P1 per kilowatt hour.