Power outages due to 'inadequate' transmission: DOE

Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 09 2023 03:56 PM | Updated as of May 09 2023 06:31 PM

MANILA — The Department of Energy on Tuesday urged the National Grid Corp of the Philippines to hasten the completion of ongoing projects and maintenance activities to avoid outages during the summer season. 

On Monday, the Luzon grid was placed under red alert, with several areas reporting outages. 

Based on the initial investigation, the power interruption was triggered by the tripping off of the Masinloc-Bolo 230kV transmission line of NGCP, the DOE said.

This was the main cause why the 2 units of Masinloc Power plant bogged down shaving 680MW from the Luzon grid, triggering yellow and red alerts until mid-afternoon.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the outages in Panay and Negros over the past weeks were also due to the inadequacies in the transmission system.

"The recent prolonged power interruption in Panay & Negros & the power interruption experienced yesterday had been traced to inadequacies in the transmission system. So we call on everyone's cooperation in the completion of NGCP's projects," Lotilla said.

But the whole Luzon grid is normal on Tuesday as the plants that bogged down yesterday had all been energized and connected to the grid, the DOE said.

DOE Undersecretary Rowena Guevara also corrected NGCP's earlier report that 5 plants bogged down. She said some of them have been on maintenance shutdown days ago and not as a result of the transmission problem.

The NGCP was ordered to submit an explanation by Tuesday.

The DOE also asked NGCP to immediately address the protection coordination of the generation, transmission and distribution systems and to fast-track its ancillary services that have already undergone a competitive selection process.

Guevara said had NGCP finished its San Jose Hermosa transmission line in Luzon last December, it could have added 600MW of power supply from the Bataan area, but this was delayed to July.

In the Visayas, Guevara said had the NGCP finished the Visayas Mindanao interconnection project, Mindanao could have helped as only 70 percent of its supply is used.

Guevara says the MVIP could have transported 450MW during that time which is more than enough to cover the 250MW deficiency at that time.

"It's unfortunate sana yung delay hanggang before summer sana pero it extended all after summer pa matatapos that's why we have this situation," she said.

Meralco on Tuesday said more than 200,000 of its customers in portions of Paco and Sta. Mesa in Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, Batangas, Antipolo in Rizal, San Pedro and Biñan in Laguna, and San Rafael and Pulilan in Bulacan were affected by an "automatic load dropping (ALD)" due to the tripping of Duhat-Hermosa 230kV line at around 3:40 p.m.

Service was restored by 3:57 p.m., it added.


The DOE said there are still potential yellow alerts for May and the months ahead but it could improve once the Ilijan power plant becomes online by the end of May and as the imported liquified natural gas supply arrives in Batangas.

Lotilla says the ERC has already finished its performance evaluation of NGCP but he has no details yet about this.

When asked if it's time to return the control of the transmission system to the government from the current private-led NGCP, Lotilla said it depends on Congress as this refers to a congressional franchise.

"It is not a case of blame throwing, what we want to do is to establish in an objective manner what are the weak links, what are the problems in the transmission system and what can we do in order to address these problems," said Lotilla.


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