NGCP goes on tour to explain outages, rates increase

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/9 June) – The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), who runs the country’s power transmission network earlier managed by the government-owned National Transmission Corp., started a roadshow today in three key locations in Mindanao to discuss mainly the power outages and the significant power rate increase.

NGCP started the roadshow in the cities of Pagadian and Butuan. It will then go to Davao City.

Milfrance Q. Capulong, NGCP corporate communications officer for Mindanao, said their original plan was to hold a daily roadshow across key cities of Mindanao for a month, but it was not pushed through due to the costs involved.

In Pagadian, the consultation gathered stakeholders from Zamboanga Peninsula and the Lanao provinces. The Butuan forum convened those from Cagayan de Oro and the provinces in Agusan and Surigao.

The Davao meeting dubbed as the “Forum on Ancillary Services to its Load Customers” is slated on Friday. It will gather stakeholders from south-central Mindanao.

Capulong said that foremost in the discussion “is the question why the electricity rate increase was significant” despite the frequent brownouts that started in February.

The local watch group Ilaw Para sa GenSan Movement said the electricity rate hike in the area has reached as much as P1.71 per kwh since the power crisis was felt.

Last month, the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative II raised electricity rates by P0.85 per kilowatt hour, from P6.3491/kwh in April to P7.2030.

Pilar T. Afuang, executive director of the city’s chamber of commerce and industry, blamed the NGCP for the increase in electricity rates even as consumers have been using less power with the brownouts. She urged the NGCP to explain the increased rates to the public.

At the height of the power crisis, some parts of Mindanao suffered 10 to 12 hours brownout .

NGCP blamed the El Niño phenomenon to the supply shortfall as Mindanao relies heavily on hydroelectric power plants in the Lanao provinces and Bukidnon.

The good news is, the dry spell is now ever as reported by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). But it warned the country of the heavy rains of La Niña.

This has reportedly caused water level at Lake Lanao, source of water for the Agus hydro plants in Lanao, to rise close to the normal 701 meters above sea level.

The NGCP website has reported that Mindanao has available capacity of 1,068 megawatts against a peak load of 1,242mw. Although still having a deficit of 174mw, it is almost just a fourth of the shortfall at the height of the power crisis. (MindaNews)