Coop cuts power rate in SOCSARGEN

GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/ 26 July) – The power rate here and in the nearby provinces of Sarangani and South Cotabato has slightly dropped this month as supplies in the critical Mindanao grid continued to stabilize in the last several weeks.

Joy Celeste Alora, South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) information officer, said Thursday they are implementing a 13-centavo cut in the basic rate for residential consumers for the month of July as the cooperative posted a significant decrease in its generation costs during the period.

From the previous rate of 7.37 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) last June, the basic charge for this month has dropped to 7.2311 per kWh, she said.

The new rate would be incorporated into the bills for August of power consumers in this city, the entire Sarangani province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

“This [power rate cut] is mainly due to the cooperative’s reduced utilization of power supplies from TMI (Therma Marine Inc.) and the stabilization of supplies coming from the NPC (National Power Corporation),” Alora said.

She was referring to the existing power sales contract between Socoteco II and TMI, which supplies an additional 35-megawatts to the area via its diesel-powered barges.

Alora said that from P99 million in June, Socoteco II’s obligations to TMI went down to P89 million this month.

She said the cooperative’s payments to TMI reached as high as P120 million at the peak of the power shortage Mindanao in April.

Power demand within the service area of Socoteco II, which is also serving an expanding industrial sector, presently peaks at 105 MW daily. The cooperative operates 44 power feeder stations in the area.

But its contracted supply from the NPC, which varies on a monthly basis, only reaches 72 to 74 MW or short by 31 to 33 MW based on the area’s peak power demand.

Alora that since last month, the power supplies generated by the NPC and transmitted by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) have been stable and consistent, resulting to reduced mandatory power curtailments or rotating brownouts in the area.

Based on the NGCP’s power outlook advisory to electric cooperatives on Thursday morning, she said the Mindanao grid’s capacity stood at
1,092 MW. She cited a deficit of 180 MW, which are pro-rated to all local electric cooperatives in Mindanao.

“Based on experience, the impact of such amount of shortage will only be minimal for us here. There will be some brownouts but they will not take more than one hour and will not affect more than two feeder stations,” Alora added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)