DoE watching power industry performance closely after shutdown of Sual coal-fired generating plant

Posted on February 08, 2017

THE Department of Energy (DoE) has renewed its warning to power generation companies that the agency continues to watch over the performance of their plants, after the country’s biggest coal power source went offline on Monday.

The Sual power station in Pangasinan is the largest coal-fired power plant in the Philippines -- BW FILE PHOTO
“We need to make [Team Sual Corp.] aware that we are checking on them and all the others,” said Energy Secretary Alfonso F. Cusi in a briefing at the premises of the Philippine National Oil Co. on Wednesday.

The power plant’s unit in Sual, Pangasinan went offline at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, a few hours after its unit 2 resumed operations after going offline, system operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said, citing a possible condenser tube leak.

“To achieve higher standards, rewards and penalties, monitoring and a fair system of grading should be in place,” Mr. Cusi said.

NGCP said the power situation in Luzon was still manageable despite the incident. The Sual power station is the largest coal-fired power plant in the Philippines, generating and supplying 1,294 megawatts (MW) for the Luzon grid.

“Sual is very important because it is a big plant and [its outage] has a big effect on supply,” said Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella during the same briefing.

He said the government-run Malaya power plant was on standby to supplement power supply.

The DoE quoted NGCP as saying that the electricity grid was running normally, with Luzon having a net reserve of 1,089 MW during the afternoon peak on Wednesday.

NGCP said the Sual plant’s unit 2 was running at 647 MW while the Malaya plant’s unit 2 was used at a minimum stable capacity of 130 MW “to maintain normal system conditions.”

The department said Team Sual advised that unit 1 was expected to return online within three to four days. The plant operator was to provide the DoE with periodic updates on plant conditions.

“Our goals are getting the correct reports and pushing them to a higher degree in doing their jobs,” Mr. Cusi said. “It’s not just them giving the right account of what’s going on. More importantly, it’s the higher standard we are after.” -- Victor V. Saulon