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Yellow alert raised over Luzon grid

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THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said it placed the Luzon power grid under yellow alert on Thursday afternoon, as power reserves fell below the grid’s safety margin.

In an advisory early Thursday, the NGCP said the Luzon grid was on yellow alert from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. as peak demand hit 13,818 megawatts (MW) against available capacity of 15,115 MW.

According to the NGCP, four plants have been on forced outage since 2023. Three have been out since January, February, or March, and 13 have been out since April. One plant is running on derated capacity for a total of 1,369.3 MW unavailable to the grid.

A yellow alert is issued when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s contingency requirement. A red alert is imposed when the supply-demand balance deteriorates further.

The NGCP lifted the yellow alert on the Luzon grid at 4:20 p.m.

Meanwhile, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa C. Dimalanta said that consumers could face higher electricity bills in May due to the current power supply-demand balance.

“We cannot give an estimate yet on the price increase because the prices of the 141 distribution utilities (DUs) are different,” she said at a briefing on Thursday.

Ms. Dimalanta urged distribution utilities to communicate with their suppliers about a staggered payment mechanism for the collection of generation charges, to provide relief to consumers.

“This would help so that we could avoid bill shock,” Ms. Dimalanta said.

“We are appealing to the DUs to do it on their own. Because if they don’t do it on their own, then again, the regulator will be constrained to step in. We let the DUs with initiative to do it. We’re also appealing to the generators to also be receptive to these requests given the situation,” she added.

The ERC recently ordered the suspension of trading on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) during red alerts to avoid a surge in electricity prices.

The average spot prices per day rose 11% on Luzon and 53% in the Visayas after alert notices were issued as a result of the high heat index, according to the commission.

WESM is the trading floor for electricity. The ERC has the power to suspend its operations or declare a temporary WESM failure “in cases of national and international security emergencies or natural calamities” under Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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