Power deficiency blamed for brownouts in Mindanao PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 February 2012 14:17

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said that the acute shortage of power in Mindanao and not by any transmission-related issue causes the daily power curtailment in the Mindanao Grid.

NGCP clarified this amid reports that some parties were blaming NGCP, particularly for its failure to renew its Ancillary Services Procurement Agreement (ASPA) with the power barges, for the daily brownouts experienced by Mindanaoans.

“We realize that some members of the public sector are concerned that the expiration of the ASPA with TMI will lessen the available capacity in the Mindanao grid,” said Cynthia Perez-Alabanza, NGCP’s spokesperson.

“We want to clarify that our contract with TMI is only for ancillary services, not for the supply of power for the consumption of end-users. NGCP is not allowed by law or existing regulations to contract with power generators for the supply to end-users,” she said.

“That obligation, to supply power to end-users, belongs to the local distribution utility or cooperative,” Alabanza said.

NGCP maintains that the load curtailment and power interruptions currently experienced in Mindanao were due to a “generation deficiency” or lack of power supply generated by plants. The Mindanao grid needs baseload power supply or the power required to meet minimum demands based on the expectations of customer requirements.

“NGCP has been transparent on the actual supply situation in the country. We publish the power situation outlook on a daily basis, to inform everyone on the electricity supply status. For the Mindanao grid, there is a deficiency,” Alabanza said.

“For example, just this week, the supply of electricity available to the grid was around 1,112 MW (megawatts). However, the system demand peaked at 1,261 MW, which means the demand overshot the supply by 149 MW. This number does not even include the required regulating and contingency reserves which should be around 150 MW to ensure grid stability. Clearly, there is a deficiency. And this information is available to everyone. We publish
it in major dailies because that is what our data shows, and our data doesn’t lie,” she said.

In the event that the power supply from the plants is not enough to address the demands of all power customers connected to the grid, NGCP implements load curtailment to maintain the power grid’s security and reliability. The level of curtailment is based on the matrix of load to be maintained issued by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation/ National Power Corporation.

“NGCP has nothing to do with supply. It does not, it cannot, by itself, determine what portion of the available supply will be allocated to each franchise area or distribution utility. We only follow the matrix,” stressed Alabanza.

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 of power services. These load customers are distribution utilities (private utilities, electric cooperatives, government-owned utilities, ecozones), and large industries, government and non-government companies directly connected to the grid. NGCP bills and collects ancillary services charges from its direct customers then remits these collections directly and entirely to the ancillary services provider, TMI.

“Ancillary services are pass through charges. NGCP does not make money off this transaction. Often times, we even lose money because while we have to pay generators for the full amount billed us, we cannot always collect from our own customers,” said Alabanza. NGCP has remitted Php3.4 billion and Php2.9 billion ancillary payments to TMI in 2010 and 2011, respectively. As the collecting agent, NGCP did not get revenues from the said fees.

Alabanza said “the NGCP cannot be blamed for the power problem in Mindanao because its lines are sufficient and are able to handle the entire energy load in the area. These lines are fully operational and are ready to deliver available power from the generators or producers to end-users.” At present, power plants of the Napocor and privately owned generating companies.