NGCP Article

NGCP urges government to address impending power shortage in 2020

Published on February 20, 2020 12:00 AM

NGCP is calling for the intervention of government agencies, particularly those in the energy industry, to address the power shortage looming over the Luzon Grid in the coming summer of 2020.

The Department of Energy (DOE) forecasts a total System Peak Demand of 12,285 MegaWatts (MW) for Luzon to occur in May 2020, an increase of 8.3% from the actual 2019 peak demand of 11,344MW which occurred on 21 June 2019.

For Visayas and Mindanao, peak demand for both regions for 2019 occurred in May, a shift from previous years when peak demands were recorded in during the last quarter of the year.

GRID                2019 Actual Peak Demand                2020 DOE Forecast Peak Demand
Luzon                11,344MW (June 21 @ 1:52PM)                 12,285MW (May)
Visayas              2,224MW (May 16 @ 2:00PM)                    2,419MW (May)
Mindnao            2,013MW (May 8 @ 1:58PM)                      2,278MW (December)

“There appears to be a shift in the way consumers use power. Luzon’s annual peak demand was long driven by increased use during the hot summer months. Mindanao and Visayas peak usage usually occur at the end of the year. The Regulator and authorities must take a closer look at the shifts in peak demand and strategize short term and long term solutions to address the ever increasing need for power vis-à-vis power consumption trends,” the company said.

Thin electricity supply is forecasted between April to June 2020, even with an expected incoming 700MW capacity from new power plants. The Luzon grid needs around 4% of the peak demand, or around 491MW in regulating power to stabilize the grid; it also needs to maintain power equivalent to the largest plant online (usually equivalent to 647MW) as contingency power to support the grid in case of an emergency power plant shutdown.

Should the net operating margin fall below these numbers, NGCP will issue a yellow alert. Further, if the power supply falls below the System Peak Demand, a red alert will be issued. This means that load dropping or rotating power interruptions may be implemented to protect the integrity of the power grid.

“Power supply takes more than just a plus-minus strategy. Types of power technology, power plant location, use habits and trends, and lead times for installation of additional capacity must be taken into account when developing the country’s power development plan. Otherwise, the default strategy will always revert to stop gap measures,” explained NGCP.

In 2019, NGCP issued 50 yellow alerts and 14 red alerts between March and November, and implemented rotating power interruptions within the Luzon grid from April to June.

“With the increase in power demand, lack of new baseload plants, power plants de-commissioning and longer unplanned maintenance shutdowns of aging plants, as well as the unpredictable weather, NGCP is urging the authorities to focus efforts on stemming what seems to be an impending power shortage in Luzon, especially during the summer season. As the Transmission Network Provider and System Operator, NGCP performs its functions within the bounds of its mandate. We cannot provide or implement solutions to a generation deficiency-induced shortage,” NGCP appealed.

Under the EPIRA, NGCP cannot intervene on issues in the generation and distribution sectors. Its responsibility is limited to the operations and maintenance of the power transmission network.

NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately-owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders Henry Sy, Jr.