NGCP warns of thinning power supplies during summer season

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said demand side management policies should be in place to ensure adequate electricity supply for the upcoming May 2022 amid predictions of thinning power supplies. (Photo courtesy of Mai Montelijao)

Power transmission operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) warned of thin power supply this summer due to higher demand as economic and other activities resume in the new normal amid the pandemic.

In a statement, NGCP also highlighted the need for policies to supporting demand side management to ensure adequate power during the upcoming elections in May 2022.

The Department of Energy (DOE) predicted a total peak demand of 12,387 megawatts (MW) for Luzon to occur in the last week of May 2022, a 747MW increase from the actual 2021 peak load of 11,640MW which occurred on May 28, 2021.

Grid 2021 Actual Peak 2022 DOE Forecast Peak
Luzon 11,640 MW (May 28, 2021) 12,387MW
Visayas 2,252 MW (December 13, 2021) 2,528MW
Mindanao 2,144 MW (August 4, 2021) 2,223MW


For Visayas, the peak demand occurred in December, mainly due to the activity brought about by the holiday season, while in Mindanao, the peak demand occurred in August.

Thin operating margins (power in excess of demand, which is used to manage and balance the grid) is forecasted in the Luzon grid from April to June due to increase in demand during the summer, which includes the critical election period.

NGCP coordinates the preparation and submission to the DOE of an annual Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP), which is the consolidated preventive maintenance schedules of power plants, considering the needed supply to meet the projected demand.

The 2022 GOMP was approved by the DOE on 10 January 2022. In compliance with the directive of the DOE, no maintenance shutdowns were scheduled during the summer months.

“NGCP, in compliance with its mandate, coordinated with the generation and distribution sectors so that we could optimize and rationalize our own maintenance schedules, to ensure sufficiency, at least on paper, of power supply throughout the year,” the firm said in a press statement.

However, as early as January, some generating units extended their maintenance shutdowns while others derated to decrease their committed generation output.

As a result, yellow alerts were issued on Jan 10 and 11.

A yellow alert is issued when the excess power is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement, pegged at the time at about 495MW and 647MW respectively.

“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 explained.

“As the transmission service provider, NGCP can only give an overview of the current supply and demand situation, and endeavor to dispatch any and all available grid resources. It cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation,” it added.

A red alert status is issued when supplies are insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement.

Red alerts were issued over the Luzon Grid on May 31 and June 1-2, 2021 when a similar round of extended and unplanned maintenance shutdowns and derations occurred, depleting excess supplies and leading to rotational power interruptions implemented across the entire Luzon.

To alleviate possible power shortages, NGCP appeals to policy makers to immediately explore demand side management strategies to mitigate any possible power supply issues in the coming summer months, especially at or around the time of the presidential elections.