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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Get ready for the hottest days of the year, expected to be on Wednesday, May 21, and Thursday, May 22.
On these days, temperatures may go past 37 degrees Celsius, a marked rise from the summer season temperatures observed since April which hovered between 35 degrees Celsius and 37 degrees Celsius in different parts of the country.
The spike in temperatures is expected to drive demand for power, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said on Monday, May 19.
Adding to the pressure on energy is the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia to be held in Metro Manila from May 21 to 23.
“The hottest days are on 21st and 22nd and that is when WEF will be held then that is so we will manage it the best way we can, with or without WEF,” Petilla told reporters.
Watch this report below.
The highest temperature in Metro Manila ever recorded was 38.5 degrees Celsius on May 14, 1987. The hottest day ever recorded for the entire country was on May 11, 1969 when Tuguegarao City in Cagayan experienced heat at 42.2 degrees Celsius.
Pressure on power
The forum comes at a time when the energy supply for Luzon is below normal.
The overall energy outlook puts the region on yellow alert for that week, a status that means reserves are below the minimum level set by the regulator but does not necessarily mean power outages or blackouts will happen.
On May 19, the Luzon grid remained on normal or white alert.
But the situation could very well become critical if power plants malfunction.
“It’s difficult to say when a red alert will happen because it will depend on how many plants will shut down unexpectedly,” said Petilla.
The red alert is raised when there is a severe energy deficiency. As early as Friday, one of the units of the Pagbilao plant in Quezon conked out, cutting out 347 megawatts (MW) of power. It is expected to be operational on Thursday, May 22.
But even without Pagbilao, “reserves are still a bit hight,” said Petilla.
The week’s reserves are higher than those last week leading to a better outlook.
Even with this assurance, the DOE says it is readying alternatives in case power supplies take a turn for the worst.
The department aims to increase the number of participants under the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) which focuses on adding more generating units to serve as back-up power reserves.
ILPs are used by industries around the country, such as malls and hotels, to provide energy when the main grid fails.
The total ILP capacity is 80 MW but the DOE aims to raise this to 200 or 300 MW.
Visayas on red alert
The Luzon grid, meanwhile, supplied power to the Visayas grid Monday, after Visayas was placed on red alert by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) after some power plants went offline.
“Luzon is already supplying around 50 megawatt (MW) to Visayas through HVDC (high voltage direct current) line. So far, no brownouts in Visayas,” said NGCP.
Energy Undersecretary Raul Aguilos stressed that no power outage in Visayas was reported to the DOE.
Among the power plants that are on scheduled shutdown include Cebu Thermal Power Plant Unit 1 (82MW), Panay Energy Development Corporation Unit 1 (82MW) and Leyte Geothermal Power Plant (LGPP) Unit 2.
“The plants are expected to be operational this week. Based on projections, if no plants go on unscheduled shutdown then we should be ok,” said Petilla. – Rappler.com
Thermometer image from Shutterstock