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5 March 2010

Philippines: Power deficits soaring to highest levels

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The power supply deficit in the country’s three main grids grew Thursday morning, soaring to their highest levels over the past several years, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

According to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, the power supply deficit in Luzon jumped to 446 megawatts (MW) while that in Mindanao surged to 650 MW as of Thursday morning. Supply shortage in the Visayas was relatively minimal at only 40 MW.

However, power supply in Luzon was expected to improve at the end of the day as the 540-MW Limay combined cycle power plant was expected to operate at full capacity.

This, however, did not guarantee a steady power supply on Friday, as the owners of the other facilities, which have broken down a few days ago, have yet to complete repairs.

As such, power distributor Manila Electric Co. announced one-hour rotating brownouts on Thursday, beginning 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in several areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Power supply in Luzon fell after the Aboitiz Power Corp.'s Magat hydroelectric plant was unable to operate beginning on Thursday due to the low water levels at the reservoir. It was still running and contributing 30 MW to the grid as of Wednesday.

Only one of the three units of CBK Power Co.'s Kalayaan hydroelectric plant was running at 152 MW, due to low water levels at the Caliraya lake.

Mindanao grid will continue to experience generation deficiency because of a bigger demand of 1,361 MW. Capacities of hydro-electric power plants continue to be limited in Mindanao due to low water inflow to their reservoirs brought about by El Niño.

STEAG Power Inc.'s coal-fired power plant also reduced its capability from 210 MW to 150 MW.

NGCP said it would continue to monitor power grid conditions. As the system operator, it operates the power system or grid in accordance with the Philippine Grid Code.

It is also the country's only utility responsible for transmitting high-voltage power from generators to distributors. NGCP does not own nor operate and maintain any power generation and distribution facilities.


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