MANILA, Philippines – Several power plants in Luzon will go on scheduled maintenance shutdown this year, with two plants closing down as early as this month, data submitted by generators to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) showed.
From January to July this year, several power plants with a total capacity of 4,162.6 megawatts will go on scheduled shutdowns but the exact amount of power that will disappear from the grid will vary every month, depending on the specific schedule each month.
Unit 1 of GN Power’s Mariveles coal plant in Bataan, with a capacity of 302 MW has scheduled a January shutdown, while Quezon Power Philippines’ 456.6-MW coal plant will also go on maintenance shutdown starting Jan. 17.
In February, Unit 2 of the Mariveles coal plant, with a capacity of 302 MW, will also go on maintenance shutdown, according to a released schedule of plant outages.
From March 15 to April, the two units of the Ilijan natural gas power plant of Kepco Philippines in Batangas with a total capacity of 1,200 MW will also go on maintenance shutdown.
This will follow the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya deep water gas to power project in the same period. The Malampaya gas field in offshore Palawan supplies natural gas to three power plants in Luzon – the 1,200-MW Ilijan plant, the 1,000-MW Sta. Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo power plants, both owned by the Lopez group.
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The Sta. Rita plant in Batangas will also go on scheduled shutdown also from March 21 to 25, affecting 257 MW in capacity.
The Masinloc Unit 1 and Unit 2 coal power plants in Pangasinan are expected to go on scheduled outages in May and July, respectively, while Pagbilao Unit 1 and Unit 2 in Quezon are also expected to shut down in June and July, respectively.
The Sta. Rita plant will go on another scheduled outage in July, this time affecting 251 MW.
Some of the country’s power plants have to go on maintenance shutdowns more often than expected as many of these plants are already old, some of which are more than 50 years old.
Because of the scheduled shutdowns, the country is facing a tight power supply situation this year especially in the summer months.
To address the issue, President Aquino has asked Congress for emergency powers to tap additional supply but Congress has yet to grant the request.
The primary option being eyed to address the problem is the so-called Interruptible Load Program (ILP) wherein large power users will use their own generating capacities to ease demand from the grid especially this summer when there is a projected power deficit of 700 MW.