Unstable power on Panay could persist indefinitely

THE Energy department said ongoing power interruptions in Panay may continue indefinitely with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) still working on the full recovery of the island’s power grid.

“The DUs (distribution utilities) will have to manage their load given the limited capacity of substations, and accordingly supply of power, while NGCP is working on full recovery of the grid. Thus, DUs may still impose rotational brownouts until full recovery of the grid,” the Department of Energy (DoE) said in a statement on Sunday.

According to an advisory posted on the NGCP’s Facebook page, interruptions are affecting the supply of power to Iloilo, Antique, Capiz, Aklan and Guimaras.

“The NGCP is tirelessly working with our counterparts in the generation and distribution sectors to resolve the issue at the soonest possible time,” NGCP said.

On Saturday, the grid operator said it is investigating the causes of the system disruptions.

The NGCP said on Saturday, that multiple power plants in Panay disengaged from the transmission system.

“We are cognizant of the suffering the recent spate of power interruptions have wrought on the consumers and businesses in the provinces and cities of Panay Island,” NGCP said.

“While we have assessed our system for possible malfunctions, and confirmed that our protocols are working as intended, we are also exploring the possibility that adjustments need to be made along the supply chain to stabilize power in Panay,” it added.

According to the DoE, the NGCP will impose “very tight limits” to the protection system through the system integrity protection schemes (SIPS) to ensure that the transmission system is stable to head off further deterioration.

SIPS is designed to detect abnormal or predetermined system conditions and take automatic corrective action.

Separately, More Electric and Power Corp., Iloilo City’s electric distribution utility, said that it is ramping up operations to restore normal power.

It said the power outage lasted nearly 12 hours.

On Friday, the DoE announced unplanned maintenance at the 647-megawatt Sual Coal-fired Power Plant (CFPP) Unit 1 in Pangasinan between April 29 and May 1.

“As this would fall on a long weekend, the DoE is optimistic that there will be minimal or no power interruptions because the demand is low during this period,” the DoE said.

CFPP will carry out unplanned maintenance to address boiler tube leaks. Operators will also clean the generator.

However, the DoE warned that if the maintenance lasts until May 5-11, yellow or red alerts are possible.

Yellow alerts are issued when reserves fall below a designated safety margin, while red alerts are raised when the supply-demand balance deteriorates further, signaling the possibility of rotational brownouts.

“The DoE also requests public cooperation by rationalizing the use of power during the peak demand hours of 11 a.m. to 12 noon; 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.,” the DoE said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose