3rd straight ‘Yellow alert’ for Luzon grid sparks fear of power rate hike

Robie de Guzman   •   April 4, 2019   •   1868

MANILA, Philippines – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Wednesday (March 3) placed the Luzon grid on yellow alert for the third straight day this week.

The alert was raised from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Yellow alert, NGCP’s second highest alert, is a system condition in which the reserves are low against high power demand.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said this is because power plants on forced or unplanned outages remain inoperational or offline.

Affected power plants are Pagbilao 1 which produces 382-megawatts (MW), Pagbilao 3 with 420MW, Masinloc 2 with 344MW, SLTEC 1 with 150MW and Malaya 2 with 350MW.

For the biggest power grid in the country to be placed on yellow alert condition, it means that its second level of reserves could no longer be fully served by available capacity in the power system.

While this circumstance may not necessarily result in brownouts, consumers would still need to worry as this could mean higher electricity rates that may eventually reflect in their bills.

Given these recent developments, the advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) raised the alarm on possible power rate spikes.

LKI President Vic Dimagiba scored the DOE on its decision to do away from yellow alert declarations, saying it would be best if the government could provide consumers a list of all the plants and an inventory of when these power plants are scheduled to shut down.

Dimagiba said the government should address the gap in its action plan when it comes to providing contingencies when the grid’s supply suddenly plunges, which results to power rate hikes in the spot market.

He also noted that the government should focus on ensuring future capacity additions that will help in addressing the country’s energy woes. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mon Jocson)

Singil sa kuryente ng Meralco, tataas ngayong Mayo

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Magpapatupad ng panibagong dagdag sa singil sa kuryente ang Manila Electric Company (Meralco) para sa bill ngayong Mayo.

Batay sa anunsiyo ngayong Biyernes, sinabi ng Meralco na tataas ng P0.185 kada kilowatt hour (kWh) ang singil dahil natapos na ang refund sa over recovered charges.

Bukod pa anila ito sa bahagyang pagtaas sa generation charge.

Ang dagdag singil ay katumbas ng P37 para sa residential consumers na kumukonsumo ng 200 kWh kada buwan, P55 para sa 300 kWh, P73 para sa 400 kWh, at P90 para sa 500 kWh ang buwanang konsumo.

Ito na ang ikalawang sunod na buwan na nagpatupad ng dagdag-singil ang power distributor.

Noong buwan ng Abril ay tumaas din ang singil ng Meralco dahil sa pagtaas ng generation charge.

DOE, ERC urged to probe unplanned outages in some Luzon power plants

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to look into the reported unplanned outages of some power plants in Luzon that allegedly triggered a spike in consumers’ electricity bills.

Citing data from the Independent Energy Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), Gatchalian said that for the March 2021 billing period, there were 1,580 megawatts (MW) non-coincidental unplanned outages or 61.3% of the total outages.

For the April 2021 billing period but only until April 18, there were 1,428 MW non-coincidental unplanned outages or 62.8% of the total outages, he added.

“Dapat gumalaw dito ang ERC dahil noong November 2020 last year, naglabas sila ng isang polisiya na lahat ng planta ay dapat makapag-deliver batay sa tinatawag na reliability index,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Kapag bumagsak sila doon sa polisiya ng ERC at hindi nila ma-justify kung bakit pumalya yung planta, magmumulta sila,” he added.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, also urged the DOE to address any logistical issues being faced y some power producers to prevent similar occurences in the coming weeks as the government plans to intensify its COVID-19 vaccination between May and June.

“Hindi dapat tayo magkaroon ng brownouts dahil padating pa ang mga bakuna natin by the end of this month, May, or June at maseselan itong mga vaccines. May iba na kailangan ng almost subzero freezing temperature o mga freezer na kaya ang negative 20 degrees. Kaya kung may brownout tayo, saan natin ilalagay ang mga bakuna natin? Malaking dagok ‘yan sa atin at maaantala ‘yung vaccination process natin,” he said.

The DOE should also address problems in the delivery of spare parts needed by power plants to prevent simultaneous outages, Gatchalian said.

“Dapat ring imbestigahan ng DOE ang ilang alegasyon tungkol sa logistics. Dahil nga pandemya ngayon, hindi dumarating yung mga spare parts, kaya nagkaka-problema sa logistics. Dapat magawan agad ito ng aksyon para hindi sabay-sabay na bumagsak ang mga planta,” he said.

“Dapat gawin ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng makakaya para maiwasan ang brownout. Kaya ang solusyon dito at all cost – dapat yung mga planta huwag bumagsak, huwag silang mag outage.” he added.

PH Energy dep’t. vows to protect petroleum resources in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) vowed to take necessary steps to assert the Philippines’ rights over petroleum and other resources in the West Philippine Sea should any foreign state engage in petroleum activities within the area.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte said in his public address on Monday that he would send the country’s warships to the West Philippine Sea once the country starts drilling for oil and other resources in the seabed of the region.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) stands firmly behind any decision and action of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte regarding the assertion of the exclusive licensing authority of the Philippines over petroleum and other resources in the seabed and subsoil of the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Cusi said the DOE supports the President’s statements regarding the defense of the resources of the Philippine seabed and subsoil as this s in accordance with the Philippine laws.

“Under our laws, only the Philippine government, through the DOE, may issue licenses to drill in Philippine land territory, including its islands, internal waters, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and continental shelf,” he said.

“Should any foreign state engage in petroleum activities inside the Philippine petroleum jurisdiction, the DOE shall take the necessary steps to protect our licensees and preserve our resources,” he added.

“It shall defer to the sole prerogative of the President regarding any security option. It shall also conform to any decision that the Department of Foreign Affairs might take regarding the ongoing informal negotiations on oil and gas cooperation with China.”

Tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea surfaced anew due to the lingering presence of Chinese vessels in waters within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Department of National Defense has called for the immediate removal of these vessels while the Department of Foreign Affairs filed a series of diplomatic protests over the issue.

“Meanwhile, the DOE continues to develop the uncontested Philippine EEZ and continental shelf through the resumption of petroleum operations by our licensees and the award of new petroleum areas,” the department said.

“The Philippines remains in business, COVID-19 and China, notwithstanding,” it added.

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