Philippines may see 3 months of outages in 2015 in worst case scenario

Philippines may see 3 months of outages in 2015 in worst case scenario

Luzon may face up to 13 weeks of power outages in the summer of 2015, according to estimates of the Department of Energy (DOE).

In a report on various power supply and demand scenarios for the anticipated power crisis, DOE said there may be five to 13 weeks between March and June 2015 when the Luzon grid goes on red alert, which means rotating power outages in various areas, especially during peak hours.

Although Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has said repeatedly that outages are not expected to be "massive," there are concerns on the frequency and length of such outages-whether it would be on a daily basis during the weeks identified, and how long each outage will last.

The DOE has said this will depend on various factors, such as the impact of drought (which affects hydroelectric power plants); power consumption; how much of demand from the grid is eased by consumers using generator sets; and any new or restored capacity from power plants.

In DOE's report, the so-called Scenario 1 - which assumed enough water supply for hydroelectric power as well as maintenance and forced outages among power generation plants - estimates a shortfall of about 600 megawatts (MW) from the grid. Under this scenario, the Luzon grid could go on red alert status for five weeks.

That would be on the first two weeks of April and last three weeks of May. While on red alert, Luzon will likely experience power outages in various areas.

Under the same scenario, there would be nine weeks under a yellow alert status, namely, on the last three weeks of March; last week of April; first week of May; and all four weeks of June.

Scenario 2 - which assumes that there may be some water supply constraints on hydroelectric power combined with maintenance and forced outages - estimates 700 MW of shortfall in the grid. That is, 600 MW plus 100 MW of lost capacity from hydroelectric power plants.

That could result in seven weeks of red alert in the grid. That could be on the fourth week of March, first two weeks of April, and all four weeks of May.

Under the same scenario, there would be eight weeks of yellow alert, namely, on the first, third, and fifth weeks of March; the fourth week of April; and all four weeks of June.

Scenario 3 - which assumes a mild drought due to the El Niño phenomenon, as well as maintenance and forced outages-estimates 800 MW of shortfall in the grid.

That is, 600 MW plus 200 MW of lost capacity from hydroelectric power plants. That could result in seven weeks of red alert in the grid, on the same weeks as Scenario 2.

Under the same scenario, there would be eight weeks of yellow alert, namely, on the first and third weeks of March; the last two weeks of April; and all four weeks of June.

Scenario 4 - which considers the possibility of extreme drought, along with maintenance and forced outages-estimates 1,200 MW of shortfall in the grid. That is, 600 MW plus 600 MW of lost capacity from hydroelectric power plants.

That could result in 13 weeks of outages: the last three weeks of March, first two weeks of April, and all weeks through May and June.

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