December 4, 2022

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has notified the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the entities of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMCGP) Orders issued by Luzon for alleged violation of Philippine Grid Code during September 12 unplanned power outage.

In separate orders, the NGCP was asked to provide its explanation and justification within 15 days as to why it should not face an administrative penalty for possible violations of the PGC.

It is recalled that the NGCP has declared a red and yellow alert status for the Luzon grid. The largest power generation shortfall experienced by the grid resulted from seven generating units operating in unplanned outages with a total capacity of 3,241 MW and three generating units operating in degraded conditions with a total degraded capacity of 226 MW.

The agency’s task force determined, based on its investigation, that Nagsaag’s 50 kV Line 1 was damaged due to “a line-to-neutral fault caused by the violation of line spacing between towers 138 and 139” and “a Bamboo Shoot” was triggered in between The Towers were identified as the cause of the breakthrough. The incident then led to a cascading tripping of four power transformers at the Bolo substation and the 500 kV 2 Bolo-Nagsaag line.

The tripping of both transmission lines then led to the overloading of Bolo-Balingueo’s 230 kV line, triggering the implementation of the Northwestern II System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) to prevent further grid degradation.

The ERC said “the problem with bamboo shoots should have been prevented had NGCP fulfilled its obligation” under Section 8 of Republic Act 11361, also known as the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act, which states that the owner or operator of Power lines will be primarily responsible for clearing blockages of power lines to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted power transmission.

Meanwhile, Team Sual Corp’s Unit 2 stumbled. due to the activation of SIPS. However, the ERC noted that unit 1 of TSC, which is not part of the SIPS, was also deployed.

According to the ERC, the recorded system frequency of Unit 1 of TSC was below the frequency carrying capacity for conventional power plants according to the PGC. “TSC Unit 1 should therefore have remained online,” the ERC said.

Therefore, “The Commission considers that TSC entity 1 violated GCR of the PGC when it was unable to remain online.”

TSC was also asked to submit its statement within 15 days.

The ERC also noted that Unit 2 of Masinloc Power Partners Ltd. Co. (MPPCL) should have stayed online. It said that the system voltage of Unit 2 was still within the allowable voltage fluctuation at the time of the incident.

“In view of the absence of any of the discharging circumstances, the Commission considers that MPPCL entity 2 breached PGC PST and GO by failing to remain online,” the ERC ruled.

MPPCL was also requested to submit its statement within 15 days of receipt of the order.

The NGCP and Power Units had not commented on the show cause orders as of press time.

Meanwhile, the NGCP clarified that the extension of the filing of a statement related to the Show Cause Order received on September 30 relates to alleged violations of the Philippine Grid Code, the AS Procurement Plan and EPIRA the grid operator in relation to the contracting of NGCP obtains ancillary services and implementation of automatic load shedding on certain days in 2021 and 2022.