Steag shutdown to weigh on Mindanao power grid

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/4 October) — A two-hour daily rotating brownout will again hit this city and the neighboring areas for about a month because of the scheduled maintenance shutdown of Steag State Power Inc.’s 210-megawatt (MW) coal plant in Misamis Oriental.

Joy Celeste Alora, information officer of the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative II (Socoteco II), said Thursday they received an advisory from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) that it would cut down anew the area’s power allotment due to the temporary cutoff from the Mindanao grid of Steag’s two generating units beginning October 6.
The scheduled maintenance works on Steag’s two 105-MW generating units would last until Nov. 10.

Alora did not cite the NGCP’s exact load cut for the area but said the impact would be considered minimal compared to the situation in April when the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) 255-MW Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant was closed down to undergo repair and maintenance works.
“The load reduction would be equivalent to two hours of daily rotating brownouts for our six area groupings,” she said.

Socoteco II serves this city, the entire Sarangani province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

The electric cooperative has divided its 44 feeder stations into six groups, making the scheduled outages in the area to a total of 12 hours daily.
In April, Socoteco II was forced to implement daily rotating brownouts lasting around four hours per area grouping after the NGCP and NPC reduced the area’s power allocation to 54 MW or 51 MW short from its 105 MW peak requirement due to Pulangi IV’s shutdown.
Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. augments the area’s requirement by 30 MW based on a supply contract earlier forged by Socoteco II.
After Pulangi IV was restored to the Mindanao grid in May, Alora said the NPC increased its monthly power supply contract to around 79 MW.
But she said the NPC slightly slashed the supply contract for the area last month due to the reduced generating capacity of the hydroelectric plants in Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon.
She said the reduction prompted the electric cooperative to impose rotating brownouts lasting about an hour since last month.
Citing an advisory from NPC, Alora said the generation shortfall was caused by the drop in the hydroelectric plants’ water inflow.
“One reason could be the reduced rainfall in the areas where the hydroelectric plants are located,” Alora said.
As of Thursday morning, NGCP said Mindanao’s power situation remained under “red alert” as the grid’s system capacity only stands at 1,095 MW or 129 MW short of its 1,224-MW peak power demand. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)

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