Luzon grid goes on 'yellow alert'

Posted at 04/15/14 11:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The Luzon grid was placed on yellow alert Tuesday due to problems at the Masinloc power plant in Zambales.

Mylene Capongcol, a director at the Department of Energy, said the latest advisory of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) showed the Luzon grid will be on yellow alert at the peak hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today.

"Ang latest advisory ng NGCP by 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today, magkakaroon po tayo ng yellow alert kasi bumagsak ang Masinloc- 2 kaninang 7 a.m.... Pag-yellow alert, ibig sabihin kulang tayo ng contingency reserves," she told dzMM.

A yellow alert means the power reserve is less than 600 megawatts.

"Ang ibig sabihin walang sapat na kuryente na kapalit pag may bumagsak na planta, na posibleng magresulta sa brownout," Capongcol said.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the yellow alert was later lifted at around 3:30 p.m.

Petilla said the DOE is still trying to find out when the Masinloc-2 will be able to go back online.

"Usually when they go offline, it takes them five days to assess, at the earliest. They have to cool down the machine. Probably Monday at the earliest," he told ANC.

The outage at Masinloc comes at a bad time since the Malampaya natural gas facility will go on a scheduled maintenance shutdown on Wednesday, which would affect its generating capacity.

"Starting Wednesday evening, Malampaya will go on 24-hour shutdown. By Thursday or Wednesday evening, we will lose another 600 MW but usually Thursday and holidays we have low consumption... Normally, we would hit 8,000 MW in Luzon, but it goes down to 6,000 or less (during holidays)," Petilla said.

Petilla said they have to make sure another 300 MW power plant Pagbilao will be back online on Wednesday to raise the country's power reserve back to the normal level.

"We're trying to get Pagbilao back online tomorrow morning at the earliest," he said.

Petilla added that blackouts in Luzon are unlikely this Holy Week because there will be low demand on electricity. -- With ANC