POWER retailer Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said its customers in Metro Manila and other franchise area in Luzon will no longer suffer supply interruptions after the unit 1 of 1,000 megawatt Sual coal-fired power plant and the Sta. Rita plant owned by First Gas went online Wednesday.

Joe Zaldarriaga, external affairs manager of Meralco, said their more than four million customers will now enjoy brownout free power supply.

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"There will be no brownout today," Zaldarriaga said.

According to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the country's operator of transmission system, Luzon's generation deficiency dropped to 193MW "due to the recent synchronization to the grid of major power plant such as Sual 1 (647 MW) operated by Team Energy Philippines which is now running at 221 MW and will attain soon its rated capacity of 647 MW anytime Wedneday which may bring back the needed reserve for Luzon grid."

Apart from bringing back the Sual 1 on the Luzon grid, Zaldarriaga said the recommissioning of Module 30 of First Gas Power Corporation's-Sta. Rita plant also contributed in reducing the power shortage in Luzon due to the malfunctioning last Sunday of the Sual unit 1 and the unit 1 of the 600MW Masinloc coal fired power facilities.

The Masinloc plant in Zambales being operated by AES Corp. is now undergoing repair is expected to be back on the grid by March 7.

NGCP said Luzon has currently 6,634MW available capacity as compared to peak demand of 6,827MW.

Luzon grid recorded about 478MW generation deficiency last Monday.

While Meralco assured that there will be no brownouts in their franchise area, NGCP said some areas in Luzon will continue to experience two to three hours brownouts.

"Outages lasting two to three hours will be experienced by Luzon grid's load customers. Residents of Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon are advised to coordinate directly with their respective distribution utilities and electric cooperatives for information on the power interruption schedule and the list of specific areas which will experience temporary power outage," NGCP said.

In related developments, NGCP said the Visayas grid will no longer suffer power interruptions with the coming on stream of two power plants.

Visayas now has reserve of 63MW Wednesday from a generation deficiency of 45MW Tuesday.

"Visayas grid does not have a generation deficiency and may export around 42 MW of power to Luzon," NGCP added.

The good supply situation in Visayas was due to the commissioning of the Cebu Energy Development Corporation's plant which is already online and currently running at 42 MW and is expected to run at 82 MW within Wednesday afternoon.

Visayas has 1,263MW available capacity versus 1,200MW load demand.

Likewise, Salcon Power's Cebu Thermal Power Plant Unit 1 and Unit 2, which have been under preventive maintenance shutdown, are both fully operational and loaded with 50 MW each unit.

But NGCP reported that supply situation in Mindanao remains negative and will continue "to experience generation deficiency of up to 494 MW (today) Wednesday."

"This is attributed mainly to limited available capacities of hydro-electric power plants, most of which have water reservoirs that are drying up due to the El Nino dry spell."

Furthermore, NGCP noted that Agus Hydro-electric Power Plants, owned and oeprated by National Power Corp. (Napocor) has a total available capacity of 110 MW out of the total rated capacity of 727 MW while Pulangi Plant, also owned by Napocor, is running at only 30 MW out of the total rated capacity of 255 MW.

Meanwhile, the Iligan Diesel Power Plant, which has been unavailable since February 1, is already online and providing 35 MW to the grid.

Mindanao's current peak demand was placed at 1,316MW higher than its available capacity of 822MW or a generation deficiency of 494MW. (MSN/Sunnex)