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DOE warns of possible power outages in Luzon due to Sual plant shutdown

The Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday warned of possible interruptions in Luzon arising from the unplanned maintenance shutdown of the 647-megawatt (MW) Sual coal-fired Power Plant Unit 1.

In a statement, the DOE said the 647-MW Sual Unit 1 will undergo unplanned maintenance from April 29, 2023, to May 1, 2023, “to resolve the buildup of a leak from the plant's boiler tube and cleaning of the generator stator lot bar to rectify the increase in temperature.”

“As this would fall on a long weekend, the DOE is optimistic that there will be minimal or no power interruptions because the demand is low during this period,” it said.

However, the Energy Department warned that if the maintenance shutdown had a longer seven-day duration on May 5–11, “it would result in a possible yellow alert, or worse, a red alert, on Weeks 18 (May 1–May 7, 2023) and Week 19 (May 8–May 14, 2023).”
Nonetheless, the DOE said it was closely coordinating with the Manila Electric Company, 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 DOE also requests public cooperation by rationalizing the use of power during the peak demand hours of 11:00 a.m.–12:00 noon, 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.,” it said.
“During these times, all offices and residences using air conditioners are also encouraged to set their thermostats at 25 degrees Celsius,” it added.
The DOE also called on 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.

The agency said it immediately met with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to identify actions to avert possible brownouts.
“The Department will continue coordinating with all concerned stakeholders to ensure, to the full extent possible, an uninterrupted supply of power, especially during the summer season,” the DOE said.  —VBL, GMA Integrated News