Malampaya gas field

No brownouts, but expect higher power rates during 2-week Malampaya shutdown

Ralf Rivas
No brownouts, but expect higher power rates during 2-week Malampaya shutdown
Malampaya, which supplies 20% of Luzon’s total electricity requirements, will have its scheduled maintenance work from February 4 to 18, 2023

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) urged the public to conserve energy as the Malampaya natural gas facility will undergo maintenance shutdown in February 2023.

In a briefing on Friday, December 22, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said that Malampaya would have its scheduled maintenance work from February 4 to 18, 2023.

No brownouts, but expect higher power rates during 2-week Malampaya shutdown

Malampaya operator Prime Energy said that the maintenance works were originally scheduled last October, but was moved to the first quarter of 2023 to avoid the typhoon season that may likely delay groundwork. 

During this period, the supply of gas from Malampaya will temporarily stop, and power plants switch to more expensive, alternative sources of fuel.

Lotilla said the agency could not yet estimate the price increase.

“We have to deal with that right now. It is difficult even for Meralco to say what would be the final price, but, as we have seen in the past, there is an increase because alternative fuels are more expensive,” Lotilla said.

The shutdown also comes during elevated power prices in the global market. Lotilla admitted that there’s “not much” that the Philippine government can do to soften the impact from global market forces.

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Energy Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra said that there are various mechanisms in place, including the designation of “must run” plants and the expansion of the Interruptible Load Program to ensure continuous power supply during the period.

DOE officials said that power outages are unlikely to occur due to the maintenance works, but warned that the dry season, which is around April to July, may trigger yellow alerts due to heightened demand.

Malampaya, located 50 kilometers offshore from Palawan, provides 20% of Luzon’s total electricity requirements. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.