Mindanao consumers will have to expect continued rotating brownouts until the end of the year unless the supply deficiency in the region is addressed, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said on Friday.
National Grid officials expect that the power supply deficiencies in Mindanao will continue (which has resulted to 3 to 5 hours brownouts in Mindanao last month) from October to December unless short-term solutions are put in place.
“National Grid affirms that power interruptions in Mindanao will persist because of the scarcity of power supply and generation,” the company said in a statement.
In a briefing, National Grid president Henry Sy Jr. said there was no transmission line constraint which has affected the delivery of power supply contrary to the issues raised by Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.
Almendras said in a separate interview that National Power Corp. (Napocor) reported that there was adequate power supply and National Grid seemed to be having some problems with the dispatch of electricity to the Mindanao grid.
“I will get to the bottom of this why they are not dispatching the way they should be ,” the energy chief said.
Almendras also questioned the absence of a Mindanao-based system operator during his meeting with the energy family representatives to address the brownouts that have plagued Mindanao for the whole of month of September.
Sy, for his part, reiterated that the company has no transmission problem and the brownouts were caused by the region’s insufficient generation capacity.
“There is no transmission constraint. Insufficient power, that’s really the problem. What will we get if we don’t transmit. What will we get out of it,” Sy said.
He said Mindanao’s power transmission lines has a capacity of 540 megawatts (MW) but the power that flowed during the month of September was only 420 MW, which meant that the transmission lines were able to handle the load.
“We are allies here. We will help you but don’t blame us,” Sy said.
National Grid said that presently, power plants nominated by Napocor could meet the actual demand of customers connected to the Mindanao grid. The Mindanao grid grew by four percent year-on-year but no power plants were built to address the demand.
The company said that at any given time, two to three of Napocor’s eight power plants (i.e. Agus 1,2,4,5,6,7, Pulangi, and Power Barge 104) were shut down for various reasons thus, lately, there was substantially less energy traffic within the Mindanao grid, and the energy demands of Mindanao were not met.
“It is for this reason that Mindanao has started to experience, again, a spate of brownouts,” it said.
National Grid officials also said that with no new baseload plants entering the Mindanao grid and the continuing power outages in the region, some interest groups have called on the company to dispatch Therma Marine Inc.’s power barges (owned by the Aboitiz Group) to make up for lack of baseload supply in the grid.
The company said its contractual relationship with Therma Marine was for the provision of ancillary services alone, not for the supply of power for the consumption of end-users.
Ancillary services refer to power supplier-driven services that are necessary to support the transmission of electricity from power resources to load customers and to maintain the reliability and quality of power services.
Cynthia Perez-Alabanza, National Grid spokesperson said utilizing Therma Marine as ancilliary services supplier would also significantly raise electricity prices in the region.
Alabanza, on the other hand, said that if Therma Marine directly enter into supply contracts with the distribution utilities, the electricity cost would be lower as it would be billed as generation charge.
“The short-term solution for the supply problem in Mindanao is for Therma Marine to make its available capacity from the power barges available as baseload supply. It must directly enter into supply contracts with the distribution utilities in the area so that National Grid may dispatch the same,” National Grid said.
Alabanza said National Grid did not earn profit from the provision of ancillary services because it remitted the collection for ancillary services directly and entirely to Therma Marine. (PNA)