What Caused the Luzon Brownouts on May 31, June 1?

It's a confluence of factors.
Photo/s: Shutterstock

The forced and unplanned outages of several major power plants servicing Luzon was the "ultimate cause" of the rotational brownouts experienced by the region on May 31 and June 1, the Department of Energy said Thursday.

Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi told the Senate Committee on Energy that the outages resulted in a Red Alert in the Luzon Grid during those dates, meaning brownouts were imminent. 

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who presided over the hearing, said the rotational brownouts affected 705,090 customers of Meralco alone and resulted in economic losses of around P116 million. Some senators even went offline during their plenary session on June 1 after they were hit by the brownouts.

Cusi said the country would have enough power supply to meet the demand for electricity during the summer months as long as no more than two power plants would go on forced outage.

On May 31 and June 1, Cusi said more than two power plants servicing Luzon went on forced outage, equivalent to a loss of 2,000 megawatts per day. Available energy supply in Luzon on those dates went down to around 10,600 megawatts, inclusive of the reserves, lower than the capacity of 17,266 megawatts, Cusi said.


"Nagkasabay-sabay ang pagkawala ng supply galing sa ilang malalaking planta. That is the ultimate cause," he said.

Apart from that, other power plants generating electricity from coal, hydropower, and wind also operated below capacity.


Why are Brownouts Happening and What Does a Red Alert Mean?

The Department of Energy is already investigating the power plants that went on forced outages to determine if there was a collusion among them, Cusi said. it also issued letters to the derated or below capacity power plants to explain their situation, he said.

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