Power outage hits parts of Luzon


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(UPDATED) A widespread power outage affected areas within the franchise area of Meralco

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The tripping of 5 generation plants in Luzon caused a widespread power outage “within the franchise area of Meralco” Wednesday afternoon, May 8. 

The incident reduced the energy supply load of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) by at least half, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said in a press briefing. 

Petilla said they expect power supply to return to normal by the end of the day. “The plants are ready to get back to action. Our only problem now is to isolate what caused tripping. Supply [is] not [our] concern. We are looking at [the transmission lines] now.”

The affected power plants contribute about 3,700 megawatt (MW) to the grid, equivalent to about half of Meralco’s 7,000 MW supply needs, and about 45% of the entire Luzon grid’s up to 8,300 MW requirements.

The affected plants are: 

  • Ilijan Natural Gas (1,200 MW capacity) Block A in Batangas
  • Sual 1 Coal (1,000 MW) in Pangasinan
  • Santa Rita Natural Gas (1,000 MW) in Batangas
  • San Lorenzo Combined Cycle Gas (500 MW)  in Batangas
  • Quezon Power Coal (440 MW) in Quezon Province

For location and generation capacity of these 5 plants, check Rappler’s infograph.

The power outage originated from the Ilijan power plant, which is operated by Korean Electric Corp., through its subsidiary Kepco Ilijan Corp, according to Petilla. This triggered a domino effect, with the line tripping affecting Sual, Sta.Rita, San Lorenzo and Quezon Power, respectively.

“We are trying to find out from NGCP what happened. We initially suspected the occurrence of low voltage. This caused the other plants to trip as well.”

The franchise area of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the biggest power retailer and distributor in the country, covers more than 5 million households in Metro Manila and outlying provinces.

Transmission or supply?

Earlier, Transmission company National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) spokesperson Mutya Alabanza said in a statement that the power failure was “due to unplanned outage of 5 power plants supplying electricity to the Luzon grid.”

“This has nothing to do with transmission system. The transmission systems are fine, we’re just waiting for the plants to go back online,” Alabanza said, adding that the priority now is to stabilize power supply.

Petilla said the Department of Energy will conduct a full investigation on the incident, but stressed that “the likelihood of 5 plants bogging dow is exteremenly unlikely. The lines caused it, not the plants.”

The power outage occurred at 1:51 pm and a separate tweet notes that the “interruption was due to power supply deficiency.”

Meanwhile, social media users have been reporting power outages in their part of the country.


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