Meralco rotational brownouts explained
Simply thinking about the idea of experiencing brownouts bothers us. As all of us rely on electricity, losing it even for a moment may cause us inconvenience. However, some areas are now experiencing rotational brownouts due to the current power situation. Certainly, questions about it arise, so to give you more of the information you must know, continue reading.
Why do we experience brownouts?
The rotational brownout is a loss of electricity due to a shortage of supply. With the supply deficiency, there is a probability that Manual Load Dropping (MLD) or rotational brownouts will take effect.
The power supply system is categorized as follows:
• White alert – Sufficient power reserves
• Yellow alert – Low power reserves
• Red alert – Insufficient power supply
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) recently placed the Luzon Grid on red alert and yellow alert. Parts of Luzon were affected by rotating power interruptions as high temperatures drove electricity demand too close to the available supply. So to keep a balanced system, the NGCP had to conduct MLD that resulted in power interruptions in parts of Ilocos Norte, La Union, Zambales, Quezon Province, Camarines Norte, Albay, and Meralco’s franchise area.
According to Meralco, a rotational brownout may happen when the system is already on red alert. Hence, Meralco has given an advisory about the possible rotational brownouts in particular areas that the company covers. The brownout’s duration, however, depends on the lack of supply in the area.
Moreover, the company mentioned vital institutions such as hospitals, railways, airports, military bases, and more are less likely to experience this occurrence as they are part of the priority list.
The company clarified that power plants are not owned nor operated by Meralco; therefore, it has no control over their operation. Thus, they advise their customers regarding brownouts as soon as they receive information on the power supply situation from the NGCP, which holds the information of the volume that power plants in Luzon Grid are able to supply.
On the flip side, Meralco alerts large businesses, such as corporations and commercial establishments participating under the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), to switch to generators during a yellow alert. This is to minimize the demand, help minimize incidents of power outages, and provide more supply to customers in residential areas.
What are the possible solutions?
According to Meralco, we need more power plants. If more power plants are built, it will increase the availability and reliability of power. The company continues to work with the energy industry to handle the current supply situation. Meralco also mentioned that this is a “long-standing issue” that the government and the power industry need to work on together.
“We are cognizant of the urgent need to add more capacity to the system through additional power plants, that will in turn provide the power necessary to support our growing population and an economy that is on an upswing,” said Meralco in an advisory.
Furthermore, the company revealed that there are Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) pending with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which are once approved, will intend more power plants being built and extra capacity to the grid.
Nonetheless, if you are wondering why the power plants are not producing enough electricity, Meralco explained that the Luzon Grid, where the company sources power, has 137 power plants, half of which are 15 years or older. A power plant needs annual maintenance, and the older it gets, the higher the chance for occasional malfunctions that lead to unexpected shutdowns. Thus, other power plants with their old age are no longer operating at maximum levels and occasionally will experience emergency shutdown due to malfunctions.
As of today, June 3 (at 9 AM), the Department of Energy (DOE) has mentioned continuing to monitor the supply and demand situation in the Luzon Grid as well as submit factual information for the consumers and the enforcement agencies, including the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Philippine Competition Commission and the Department of Justice.
The NGCP also provides updates on its official Facebook page regarding the Manual Load Dropping or rotational brownouts in specific areas.
On the other hand, Meralco issues advisories about the schedules and affected areas through various platforms, such as TV, print, radio, and social media, to keep its customers updated. Customers may follow Meralco online via Facebook or Twitter for the company’s latest updates.
Meanwhile, as we face this kind of situation, we could do our part in our own little ways, such as saving energy by reducing electricity consumption if we could.