ENERGY Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said on Thursday that privately owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) should address the possible deficient power supply during summer, which coincides with the election season.

“As system and grid operators, they (NGCP) have a big role in assuring stable, efficient and reliable supply of electricity,” Mr. Cusi told BusinessWorld in a text message on Thursday.

His comment came after NGCP warned on Tuesday about the thinning power supply in all three grids in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that might lead to “yellow alerts.”

Yellow alerts are placed over the grid when power supply fails to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency reserve minimum. A red alert is issued when power demand exceeds supply, resulting in power interruptions.

In a statement released to reporters on Thursday, Mr. Cusi asked what NGCP is going to do about its own warning.

“In addition to their public advisory, the Department of Energy (DoE) is very interested to hear from them about the steps they have taken, or are taking, to address the situation, particularly in preventing the occurrence of a power interruption,” he said.

He asked if NGCP has ensured the following: availability of all capacities at all power stations; the connectivity of all available capacities; if all the congestion issues are addressed; if the Grid Operating Maintenance Program (GOMP) was thoroughly planned; and if the reserves are contracted from a separate pool of capacity for ancillary services which can be tapped in cases of emergency.

The grid operator earlier said that the GOMP was approved by the DoE on Jan. 10. The maintenance program consolidates the preventive maintenance schedules of power plants, indicating how much power will be rendered inaccessible on maintenance days.

“On paper, there appears to be sufficient supply to meet demand; but the plan on paper, the GOMP, is not always followed. It is when there are unscheduled shutdowns and derations, and extensions of maintenance duration, that grid operations may be disrupted enough to warrant the issuance of a grid alert status,” NGCP said.

It also said that as transmission service provider it cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation, but it can provide an overview of the supply and demand situation, and try to dispatch available grid resources.

Mr. Cusi said that he had instructed the DoE’s power bureau to look into the matter.

The DoE has forecast peak demand at 12,387 megawatts (MW) for Luzon to take place in the last week of May, 747 MW higher than the actual 2021 peak of 11,640 MW, which occurred on May 28, 2021, the grid operator said.

Demand in the Luzon grid peaked at 11,344 MW on June 21, 2019 and 11,103 MW on March 1, 2020.

Demand in the Visayas grid is expected to peak this year at 2,528 MW, higher than the 2,252-MW peak recorded on Dec. 13, 2021. The Mindanao grid is expected to see peak demand at 2,223 MW, against the 2,144-MW peak on Aug. 4, 2021. — Marielle C. Lucenio