Brownouts hit parts of Cebu

03/02/2010 - Parts of Cebu yesterday went without power for an hour after the Visayan Electric Co. (Veco) implemented rotation brownouts due to a 45- megawatt (MW) shortfall of power supply.The shortage was caused by the shutting down of the Cebu Thermal Power Plant Unit 2 of Salcon Power, which produced 55 MW, for preventive maintenance. It was aggravated by the absence of power supply from Luzon for the Visayas grid, said Belinda Canlas, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) regional corporate communications manager.Canlas explained that two major power plants in the Luzon area shut down causing a power shortage of 478 MW.“The sudden decrease in the available capacity when compared with previous days' figures is attributed to the shutdown of two major plants – Sual 1 (647 MW) in Pangasinan operated by Team Energy Philippines and Masinloc 1 (315 MW) in Zambales owned and operated by AES Corp. The shutdowns are expected to cause two to three hours of power interruptions in Luzon,” Canlas said.Carlito Claudio, an NGCP technical officer, said the breakdown of certain units of the power plants was due to technical problems. For the Sual and Masinloc facilities, the breakdown was due to a boiler tube leak, he said. rotation brownoutsEthel Natera, Veco corporate communications manager, said rotation brownouts in Cebu were implemented about 2 p.m. yesterday.Areas affected included mountain barangays of Cebu City, barangays Kasambagan, Barrio Luz, Lahug, Sapangdaku and Apas as well as parts of Mandaue and Talisay cities.Despite the brownouts, Cebu residents were expecting additional power this week when the Cebu Energy Development Corp. would switch on its first of three units on March 5, which produce 82 MW each. In the meantime, Mindanao will continue to suffer a power shortage of 390 MW due to the limited capacity of the hydroelectric power plants, which are drying up because of the El Nino phenomenon.“There has been an 80 percent reduction in the capabilities of National Power Corporation's (Napocor) Agus Hydro-electric Power Plants. Pulangi Plant, also owned by Napocor, experienced 90 percent reduction in capabilities.Lake Lanao's water elevation as of 6 a.m. yesterday was 699.08 meters above sea level (masl), which is below the critical level of 699.15 meters (masl).”The non-availability of Iligan Diesel Power Plant with a capacity of 35 MW and Power Barge 117 with a capacity of 100 MW contributed to the supply limitations of the Mindanao grid, said Canlas.During her “legacy tour” on Feb. 24 on board the Supercat Ferry to Bohol, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vowed that power supply shortage situation in Visayas would be addressed with the operation of two new coal-fired power plants in Toledo and Naga cities.“With two new plants and the cooperation of the private sector in the load sharing program, power situation will now be stable,” she told members of the media as well as representatives from the shipping and tourism industries who were present during the trip. (Inquirer)

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