DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 February) — Aboitiz Power announced Monday its 150-megawatt second unit of Therma South Inc. will start commercial operation on Tuesday, a week after undergoing a corrective maintenance shutdown that brought to three hours the rotating power outages within the franchise area of the Davao Light and Power Company.
In a statement, TSI president and chief operations officer Sebastian R. Lacson said the plant’s operation will contribute to addressing power shortage in Mindanao.
“The commercial operation of the Unit 2 could not have come at a better time as Mindanao suffers from power supply problems brought about by El Nino,” he said.
The DLPC franchise area, which cover Davao City, Brgy. Bincungan in Tagum City, and Carmen, Sto. Tomas and Braulio Dujali towns in Davao del Norte, has contracted 50 MW from TSI 1 since it went commercial in September 2015 and additional 50 MW from TSI 2.
“TSI’s Unit 2 has been undergoing testing and commissioning for the past several months and has, in fact, been delivering, on a non-committed basis, commissioning energy to its customers at discounted rates,” the statement read.
Aboitiz said TSI’s consumers comprised of 20 electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in Mindanao can now receive their full contracted capacity after Tuesday’s start of commercial operations.
TSI supplies power to the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Gen. Santos, Zamboanga, Butuan, Kidapawan, Tagum, Koronadal, Digos, Pagadian, and Cotabato.
DLPC, however, said its franchise area will still experience brownouts of 30 minutes to one hour.
The company blamed the outages on the “hydro power plants that remain to be isolated and have reduced capacity due to El Nino and the collapsed towers due to bombing.”
Agus 1 and Agus 2 have remained isolated after owners of the lot where the bombed Tower 25 stood did not allow personnel of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to do repair works.
DLPC has been affected by supply lack after receiving only 105 MW of its contracted capacity of 151 MW from the National Power Capacity-Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.
The Agus-Pulangui hydropower complexes, which supply over 50 percent of Mindanao’s power needs, have noted a decrease in its generating capacity due to lower water inflow to Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur and Pulangui River in Bukidnon due to El Niño.
Other sources of DLPC such as Alsons’ Western Mindanao Power Corporation supplies DLPC with 18 MW, Therma Marine Inc. with 30 MW, and Hedcor-Sibulan with with 48 MW.
DLPC experienced last week a deficit of 90 MW translating to three hours of rotating brownouts.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Southern Mindanao Region called on the government to junk the 15-year-old Electric Power Industry Reform Act saying it has failed to address power woes in Mindanao.
“We demand that the power industry be nationalized and put in the hands of the people given that the private sector cannot solve the energy crisis.
“Even with the full operation of the 300-MW Therma South Inc. coal-fired power plant (CFPP), the government fail to solve the energy problem in Davao City,” the group stated in a separate statement.
“Fifteen years after EPIRA, the government is yet to solve the energy problem in the country. Many households have yet to experience electricity,” it added.
Citing a report from the International Energy Agency, it estimated around 21 percent of the Philippine population does not have access to electricity.
“EPIRA has allowed the privatization of Napocor assets and of the entire electric power industry. In railroading EPIRA, the former administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo promised that privatization is the key to solving the energy crisis in the country. But our 15-year experience clearly shows that privatization of the energy industry won’t solve the energy problem in the country,” it said.
The group demanded that approach to solving power woes should be treated as a basic service that “is much needed by and must be provided to the people so that they can develop the society.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)