Brownouts down to from 12 hours to 3 in Soccsksargen

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews\ May 21) – The daily rotational brownout here and the neighboring provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat is now down  to just two to three hours from the previous average of at least 12 hours.

Engr. Rodolfo Ocat, general manager of South Cotabato Electric Cooperative II (Socoteco II), said the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) increased its power allocations to distribution utilities starting this week noting the improving situation in the Mindanao grid.

From a power deficiency of 700 megawatts to 750 MW the previous months, it is now down to just 300 MW.

He attributed the improving electric supply to the increasing water elevation of Lake Lanao and the Agus and Pulangi River Systems to inch closer towards the normal levels. As of May 19, he said, Lake Lanao’s water level had increased to 698.83 meters although it remained short of the 699.15-meter critical threshold.

NPC was earlier forced to limit the operations of its hydro power plants, which supplies more than half of Mindanao grid’s power requirements, after the water levels of the three water resources dropped to their critical levels due to the onslaught of the long dry spell or El Nino Phenomenon.

“The NPC was able to increase the generating capacity of its hydroelectric plants during the last two weeks and it brought a slight increase of available power to the Mindanao grid,” Ocat said.

For Socoteco II’s service area, he said NGCP increased its power allocation to more than 80 MW, which was higher than the curtailed load of 47.3 to 50.9 MW in the previous months. Socoteco II, has a peak demand of 104 to 107 MW, and when power was slashed, it also implemented three-hour brownouts in three to four phases daily or a total of nine to 12 hours.

The electric cooperative’s service area covers this city, the entire Sarangani province, and the municipalities of Polomolok and Tupi in South Cotabato.

In other areas in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, Socoteco I General Manager Santiago Tudio said the rotational brownouts were also down to just two hours from the previous six to seven hours because of the increased power load from the NGCP.

Socoteco I’s service area covers Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat, Koronadal City and eight other municipalities in South Cotabato.

Last May 8, Tudio said the NGCP restored the area’s power load to full capacity and was supposed to last only a day after the May 10 automated elections but it was able to sustain the area’s power requirements for 10 straight days or until May 17.

“We’re hoping that the rains will continue in the coming days so the NPC could be able to operate their hydro power plants to full capacity,” he said.

Tudio said that based on the NPC and NGCP’s projections, the present shortage of around 300 MW would be erased by the time the rainy season intensifies within the next four weeks.

“Right now, they explained that we’re still in the curtailment level because the waters of Lake Lanao, Agus and Pulangi were not yet fully restored to their normal levels but they expect the situation to fully normalize by June 25,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)