QUEZON CITY, April 18, 2023 – The Luzon grid will likely be placed under yellow alert status starting the last week of April until mid-June, according to the latest report of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC).

The report entitled “Luzon Power Outlook: Reviewing the Adequacy of Power Supply for April to June 2023” examined the sufficiency of power supply in Luzon for the second quarter of this year based on the power demand forecasts presented by the Department of Energy (DOE) this March. The report came a year after ICSC warned of a possible shortfall in the country’s power supply in the second quarter of 2022, in time for the national elections. 

In an updated presentation, Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said the DOE forecasted a total of 15 weeks under yellow alert status in 2023, contrary to their initial estimate of 12 weeks, and none under red alert status. In the report, ICSC took into consideration the DOE’s assumptions, including peak demand requirements of 13,125 megawatts (MW), no planned maintenance outages, and forced power plant outages amounting to about 600 MW during Q2 this year. 

“Higher demand during summer lowers the available generating capacity from Weeks 17 (April 24 to 30) to 24 (June 12 to 18) of 2023. The supply can further deplete as forced outages of large baseload power plants can unexpectedly occur in these times, likely pushing the system into yellow alert and near red alert levels. This highlights the need to monitor the compliance of all power plants with the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP) plans of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP),” said Jephraim Manansala, chief data scientist of ICSC and author of the Luzon Power Outlook 2023 report.

To prevent the power supply from falling under red alert levels, leading to rotating power interruptions in Luzon, ICSC noted that the government and power industry players in the country need to ensure that:

  • Power plants comply with NGCP’s GOMP by minimizing outages during this critical period, as mentioned;
  • Ancillary services are sufficient to support power transmission;
  • The Interruptible Load Program (ILP) is effectively implemented by distribution utilities and ILP participants; and
  • Committed power projects are completed in time to supplement the capacity needed.

The recommissioning of San Miguel Corporation (SMC)’s Ilijan combined-cycle natural gas power plant is deemed crucial; however, it is yet to be operational due to a lack of gas supply since June 2022. Linseed Field Corporation reportedly scheduled to commission its first integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Barangay Ilijan in Batangas City this month, and on April 8, logistics company Atlantic Gulf and Pacific announced that the first LNG commissioning cargo has arrived in the country. According to ICSC, the LNG terminal’s timely operation could potentially augment the power supply this quarter and reduce the risk of power outages. 

Manansala pointed out that the recommended contingency plans may help prevent a power crisis this quarter, but more long-term solutions are clearly needed to address the Philippines’ energy challenges.

“The current grid, centralized on large baseload coal power plants, is unsuitable for the country’s variable load demand and recurring supply shortages. Instead, evidence shows that we urgently need to shift towards flexible and distributed power generation using indigenous and readily available renewable energy sources. This will enable us to achieve affordable, reliable, and secure power for everyone, while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and promoting sustainable development,” he said.

Manansala added, “Apart from the government and key power sector players, we need the cooperation of consumers in ensuring the continuous supply of electricity in Luzon, which includes implementing energy-saving measures in the workplace, shifting energy-intensive activities to non-peak hours, and upgrading to more efficient technologies in homes, commercial and industrial establishments to help balance the power supply in the grid and reduce the risk of power outages.”

NOTE TO EDITOR : The full copy of the “Luzon Power Outlook: Reviewing the Adequacy of Power Supply for April to June 2023” report can be accessed here.

ABOUT: The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities is a Manila-based climate and energy policy group advancing climate resilience and low carbon development.

CONTACT: AC Dimatatac, media@icsc.ngo, +63 998 546 9788, +63 917 149 5649