Iloilo’s major power plant shuts off; Visayas grid in yellow alert

Palm Concepcion Power Corporation | Facebook Photo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Palm Concepcion Power Corporation (PCPC) in Concepcion, Iloilo, was among the 12 power plants that experienced a forced outage on Tuesday, April 16.

The unscheduled shutdown of PCPC, alongside 11 other power plants and five plants operating at reduced capacity, led the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to raise a yellow alert in the Visayas grid.

The Visayas grid was placed on yellow alert from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Data from the NGCP showed that the power plants that were suddenly taken offline due to forced outages in the Visayas grid include the San Carlos biomass plant, HPC cogeneration plant, Victorias Milling Co. plant, Power Barges 101 units 2 and 3, South Negros BioPower Plant, Therma Visayas Inc. unit 2, First Farmers Holding Corp plant, and Panay diesel power plant unit 3-G.

Plants operating at reduced capacity are Leyte A geothermal plant, Palinpinon geothermal power plant, Cebu Energy Development Corp unit 3, Tongonan geothermal power plant, and Panay diesel power plant unit 3-E facility.

The system disturbances in the Visayas grid resulted in a total loss of 676.5 megawatts of electricity.

PCPC is one of the four major coal-fired power plants in Panay Island, with a capacity to generate 135 megawatts of power. As of the time of writing, there are no reported power outages in Panay Island.

The coal-fired plant underwent its scheduled annual Preventive Maintenance Service from February 18 to March 30, 2024.

During the routine inspection, damage to the generator’s stator insulation was detected but repairs will be delayed since the replacement of the affected components needs to be procured from abroad.

Meanwhile, NGCP raised a red alert in the Luzon grid from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a yellow alert in place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A red alert status is issued when power supply is insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement, while a yellow alert occurs when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s contingency requirement.

NGCP has since warned Luzon consumers of possible rotational brownouts, as it may implement manual load dropping (MLD) to maintain the integrity of the power system.

Meanwhile, MORE Electric and Power Corporation has also cautioned its consumers in Iloilo City of possible rotational brownouts should there be an MLD provision from the NGCP if supply and demand are not balanced.

The Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) previously warned that the Luzon and Visayas grid could experience yellow alerts this summer, especially in incidents where there are forced outages in large power plants.

Unlike Luzon, IEMOP admitted being challenged to establish a contingency reserve for the Visayas grid, which could act promptly during sudden generator outages to ensure consistent grid functionality.