DOE chief to NGCP: Stillyour duty to avert outages


THE Department of Energy (DOE) reminded the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Tuesday of its obligation to ensure a reliable and high-performance operation of the transmission system.

“At the end of the day, the NGCP has the responsibility of maintaining grid reliability that requires ancillary service, and DOE expects that NGCP will live up to it,” said Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla.

On Monday, NGCP warned of the possibility of intermittent power interruptions after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) denied a request for month-on-month extensions on ancillary services agreements (ASAs), while the competitive selection process (CSP) is being undertaken.

The NGCP has already concluded the acceptance and opening of bids for AS on March 14, 15, and 16 for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, respectively. It is now evaluating the bids and expects to formally award contracts to winning bidders no later than April 18, 2023. NGCP is anticipating that a provisional approval (PA) for these ASPAs may not be expected earlier than June 2023.

“With ERC’s denial of this interim arrangement, our hands are tied. The Philippine Transmission Grid shall be vulnerable to power interruptions resulting from an artificial lack of AS. Without an existing ASPA [Ancillary Services Procurement Agreements], NGCP cannot nominate power plants to provide the critical services,” explained NGCP.

NGCP will file a motion for reconsideration on the argument that the DOE circulars apply only to new ASPAs, and not to extensions of existing ASPAs.

Lotilla said the ERC decision denying the monthly extensions of ASAs were promulgated back in December 2022. At that time, NGCP had not yet implemented the CSP for AS. “Since the CSP for AS is now nearing completion, the NGCP may file a motion for reconsideration before the ERC with updates on the CSP for AS,” added Lotilla.

Ancillary services support the transmission of power from generators to consumers to maintain reliable operations. These are necessary for NGCP to manage power fluctuations to ensure the quality and reliability of power flowing through its system. If not managed properly, fluctuations can cause damage to sensitive equipment, or even automatic load dropping (ALD) if the fluctuations are severe enough to pose a danger to the transmission system as a whole.