DOE warns of possible “minimal” power interruption due to Sual CFPP maintenance


The Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday warned of a possible “minimal” power interruption over the weekend, due to the unplanned three-day maintenance of the 647 megawatts (MW) Sual Coal-fired Power Plant (CFPP) Unit 1 to resolve the build-up of a leak from the plant’s boiler tube and cleaning of the generator stator lot bar to rectify increase in temperature.

The DOE said they are “optimistic” though, as they expect though that since it would fall on a long weekend, that there will be “minimal or no power interruptions” since the demand is low during this period.

The unplanned maintenance will run from April 29, 2023 to May 1, 2023.

The DOE said they are requesting public cooperation by rationalizing the use of power during the peak demand hours of 11:00 AM – 12:00 NN, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, and 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

During these times, the DOE said that all offices and residences using air conditioners are encouraged to set their thermostat at 25 degrees Celsius.

The DOE said that to maintain supply-demand balance during the period, they are closely coordinating with MERALCO, other distribution utilities, and retail electricity

suppliers to activate and expand the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) to help soften the impact whenever supply deficiency and power interruptions are imminent in the grid.

The unplanned maintenance was agreed during the meeting among the DOE team, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and TeaM Sual Corporation (TSC) during the assessment meeting on April 25, 2023.

The DOE also calls the attention of other government agencies, in particular, the Department of Health (DOH), to advise hospitals, blood banks, dialysis centers, and

other similar facilities to adopt alternative measures, such as preparing their generator sets, if any, in case of power interruptions.

On April 24, 2023, the DOE received a notice from the TSC that it had requested for an unplanned maintenance of its Sual Unit 1 from the NGCP from April 21-23, 2023 to a longer seven-day duration on May 5-11, 2023.

“The DOE immediately dispatched its technical team to Sual for a site visit and discussed with TSC the alternative solutions to resolve the technical problems and mitigate possible power supply interruptions,” the DOE said.

The DOE likewise immediately met with NGCP to identify actions to avert possible brownouts.

The DOE, in their statement, assessed that if the maintenance would be a longer seven-day duration on May 5-11, 2023, it would result in a possible yellow alert, or worst, red alert on Weeks 18 (May 1-7, 2023) and Week 19 (May 8-14, 2023).

Meanwhile, the generator slot bar repair will be scheduled sometime in June or July 2023.

To avoid worsening the technical problem while waiting for the scheduled repair, Sual Unit 1 operates at a derated output of 580 MW from its full capacity of 647 MW.

The Department will continue coordinating with all concerned stakeholders to ensure, to the full extent possible, an uninterrupted supply of power, especially during the dry season.
Catherine R. Cueto


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