Blackout grips Panay, Guimaras, and Negros Islands

Blackout grips Panay, Guimaras, and Negros Islands
File photo

THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) reported a system disturbance in the Visayas grid on January 2, 2024, causing alerts and raising concerns about potential power outages in the region.

All power plants in Panay shut down by 2:27 p.m. but as of 3:07 p.m. Tuesday, the Negros-Panay grid was out.

A yellow alert was issued for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. due to the tripping of major plants at Panay, resulting in a low operating margin.

This disruption resulted in an unplanned blackout affecting Panay, Guimaras, and Negros islands, as confirmed by local power distribution companies.

The NGCP urged the public to conserve energy to avoid overloading the constrained power supply.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas expressed frustration over the situation, as he demanded an explanation from the NGCP for the region-wide blackout.

"I am calling on the NGCP to give regular updates to the public who are very much affected right now. I am also calling on NGCP what we can expect in the next 4 hours so that we can all prepare for the same. I am making this demand as a consumer who is affected by their incompetence," Treñas said.

Treñas also called for an investigation on the power disruptions.

The NGCP, for its part, vowed to determine the root cause of the disruptions, work with counterparts in generation and distribution to adjust protection settings and provide updates on the situation.

“The unscheduled maintenance shutdowns of the largest power plants in Panay Island was the primary cause of the power interruption. We emphasize the need for improved planning to ensure sufficient generation per island, with a well-balanced mix of fuels and technology,” NGCP said.

It also reported multiple trippings on Panay Island's power plants, including Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) Units 1 and 2 (83 MV each), and planned maintenance shutdowns for PEDC Unit 3 (150 MW) and Palm Concepcion Power Corporation (PCPC) 135 MW. This resulted in 68.75 percent of the total 656 MW in-island generation being lost to the Panay sub-grid.

As of 9:30 p.m. of January 2, Panay Island's power plants were only producing 6.2 percent of the island's 83.5 MW demand, requiring approximately 300 MW to stabilize the grid.

“We will be restoring loads conservatively, by matching loads to restored generation, to prevent repeated voltage failure. NGCP is ready to transmit power once it is available. The people must understand that we can only transmit power, we do not generate power,” NGCP said in a statement.

NGCP also called for robust resource optimization planning by policymakers to prioritize efficient solutions to power system concerns.

It has identified the need for non-variable energy sources to stabilize the Panay sub-grid in Negros, considering its dependency on variable sources and its Cebu-Negros-Panay Stage 3 project as a contributing solution.

The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc., meanwhile, said the power blackout has disrupted businesses, affecting productivity and residents.

It urged the NGCP and the Energy Regulatory Commission to implement corrective actions. (Leo Solinap/SunStar Philippines)


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