Demand is rising, yet no new power supply is coming to the market.
The Philippines may experience a power crunch in the summer of next year as no new supply enters the market amidst growing demand, Quezon Power Managing Director Frank Thiel said.
A 660-megawatt (MW) supercritical power plant in the North of Luzon was added into the country’s energy mix, whilst no new power station is expected to come into the market next year, Thiel said. He added that this comes as demand returns to its pre-pandemic level.
"I think it's going to be a very difficult summer. When people ask me what my forecast is for next year’s power supply situation, I think it's going to be very tight,” Thiel said at the Asian Power Thermal Energy Conference.
Thiel said Quezon Power will be undergoing three years' worth of maintenance at once in 2022 after the health crisis prevented the generator from consulting its technical advisors.
Quezon Power is looking at scheduling a 45-day outage or maintenance, which is longer than the usual 25- to 30-day shutdowns it sets for maintenance.
“We have no choice. We have to do the maintenance. We've been deferring for two years already. We cannot keep running the plant, if we don't do the right maintenance, we could have potentially bigger problems,” he said.
He noted other power generators likely have the same expectations, especially as the government is set to impose a ban on shutdowns during the election season. The ban will be in effect two months before and after the 9 May national elections next year.
Quezon Power is also in talks with the Energy Regulatory Commission regarding the new rule that sets limits on the allowable planned and unplanned outages for power plants.
“We understand the purpose, and I think prospectively will work really well. But, trying to apply that and basically apply it to plants that have been online for 20 years presents a bit of a challenge,” Thiel said.
“We are talking to the regulator and we will approach them as need be.”