Panay power supply remains stable – DOE

By Sean Rafio and Francis Allan Angelo

The Department of Energy (DOE) said Panay continues to enjoy stable power supply despite an earlier advisory from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) asking the public to prepare for another outage on the island in the next three to five days.

“Ang situation ngayon…stable po ‘yong grid system natin. May ample supply tayo, walang kakulangan,” DOE Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan said in a media forum on Saturday.

“Ang situation po ngayon, kagaya ng nabanggit ko kanina, stable po ang grid system natin. May ample supply tayo, walang kakulangan at every 30 minutes po mino-monitor namin iyong sitwasyon. At mayroon pang mga oras na nag-i-export pa ang Panay papunta ng Negros (The situation now, as I mentioned earlier, is that our grid system is stable. We have ample supply, there is no shortage and we monitor the situation every 30 minutes. And there are times when Panay is still exporting to Negros),” Marasigan said during a weekly forum in Quezon City.

But what about the NGCP advisory?

Marasigan said it was just a precautionary announcement given the situation on January 18, 2024.

“Kasi dapat ‘pag nag-send out tayo ng information, hindi siya alarming, dapat precautionary measures. ‘Yon pong statement na lumabas, sana po ang ipick-up ng marami…it’s just a precautionary measure,” Marasigan added.

On Thursday morning, the NGCP said there might be a possibility of a manual load drop (MLD) if another large power plant in Panay Island trips off.

MLD is carried out when there is insufficient power generation supply due to the unavailability of a power plant at the moment.

NGCP’s advisory followed the MLD that resulted in about a 20-minute power interruption in the Negros and Panay sub-grid after Unit 3 of Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) in La Paz district tripped. It has a load capacity of 150 megawatts.

“The unresolved internal issues of the remaining major power plants (PEDC Units 1 and 2, and PCPC) that precipitated the January 2 incident, qualify as a significant threat to system security following a credible N-1 event, and justifies manual intervention by the System Operator NGCP under Philippine Grid Code Section

“In order to preserve the integrity of the transmission system, NGCP implemented manual load dropping,” the NGCP stated.

It said that if another major power plant encountered a similar issue, rotational brownouts might occur.

Marasigan said the precaution also aims to prevent a repeat of the blackout last January 2.

“Para maiwasan po natin na magkaroon pa ng sitwasyon na January 2, kung meron pang isa o dalawang planta na magkakaroon pa ng problema, saka po sila magi-isyu ng talagang advisory na magkakaroon ng manual load dropping,” Marasigan said.

He also clarified that no rotational brownout has been experienced on the island, other than the blackout on Jan 2.

“No rotational brownout has happened yet, except during the incident itself when the plant was down. To avoid a recurrence of the Jan. 2 situation, if one or two plants experience problems, they will issue the actual advisory that there will be manual load dropping,” Marasigan said, adding that only one plant experienced an outage.

Marasigan said they see the line enhancement program of NGCP, particularly the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) Stage 3 Project, as a way to prevent outages.

The project, he explained, would increase the capacity to transfer power supply to Negros and Panay.

“One of the solutions we found to avoid it is that the enhancement of Negros-Panay should be completed. That’s what we call the stage 3 project of CNP [Cebu-Negros-Panay]. That’s the part where we will increase the transfer capacity of Negros and Panay. Right now, as I mentioned, 180 megawatts can go up to 400 megawatts. So, even if the generation in Panay is significantly reduced, that line will provide electricity,” Marasigan said.

NGCP has committed to finish the in March 2024.