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Be prepared for thin power supply this summer

A couple of days ago, power transmission operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) warned of thin power supply during the coming summer months.

It cited the forecast of the Department of Energy (DOE) that total peak demand this year will hover over 13,125 megawatts (MW) for Luzon — an 8.35 percent increase from the peak load of 12,113MW logged on May 12, 2022.

“Thin operating margins (power in excess of demand) from where ancillary services (power used to manage and balance the grid) are taken, are forecast for this year,” NGCP said.

For the Luzon grid, the NGCP said “these are forecast from April to June due to the historically high demand during the summer months” — the period when households as well as commercial and industrial establishments will use their air-conditioning or cooling systems for longer durations.

With the projected power outlook for the coming summer months, the power sector — the government energy agencies and the power generating and distribution firms — should sit down and come up with contingency measures so it could be set in motion in the event of an outage.

Power generators and distributors should also heed the grid operator’s call to rationalize maintenance schedules, which are mandated under the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP), to ensure steady power supply. The DOE approved the 2023 GOMP in December last year.

Likewise, “unplanned shutdowns,” which are outside the ambit of the GOMP, should also be taken into consideration.

Despite the warning, there is no reason to press the alarm button right now.

As the NGCP said, “while base case projections show no occurrence of yellow or red alerts, there are weeks between March and April where operating margins are below required levels due to higher demand and planned outages of plants.”

Earlier DOE projection also showed no “red alert” or extreme thinning of power reserves although it plotted possible 12 yellow alerts, precipitated by insufficiency of system reserves, to occur between March and November this year. A yellow alert is issued when operating margin or the power in excess of demand is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement. A red alert, on the other hand, is issued when power supplies are insufficient to meet consumer demand and the regulating requirement of the transmission grid.

Whether the projection becomes a reality or not, it’s better to be prepared rather than be caught flat-footed. It is necessary that consumers practice electricity conservation at all times, including unplugging appliances not being used.

Let’s learn from past experiences.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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