Brownouts in GenSan stretch to over 3 hours

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 April) – The daily rotating brownouts here and in neighboring areas rose to at least three hours Tuesday as the National Power Corporation (NPC) pushed through with the scheduled shutdown of the Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant in Bukidnon to facilitate its month-long rehabilitation.

Geronimo Desesto, South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) institutional services manager, said in an advisory that they were implementing three-hour and 15-minute rotating brownouts daily starting Tuesday as a result of the new power load cuts brought about by the Pulangi plant’s closure.

He said they scheduled the power outages, which will run until April 30, in four phases based on the distribution of its 44 feeder stations.

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

Prior to the implementation of the new power curtailment schedule, Socoteco II had implemented two-hour daily rotating brownouts due to the power supply cuts imposed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

NGCP imposed the load cuts due to the rising power supply shortage in Mindanao that reportedly stemmed from the dwindling capacity of the NPC’s hydroelectric plants in Bukinon and Lanao del Norte.

Engr. Santiago Tudio, Socoteco I general manager, said the NPC shut down the Pulangi at around 9 a.m. Tuesday based on an advisory issued by the NGCP’s substation in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat.

He said the plant’s closure means an additional deficit of around 180 MW to Mindanao’s power supply mix during the peak hours.

In an advisory posted in its website, the NGCP said the island’s power deficit presently stands at 234 MW and is foreseen to increase to 243 MW on Wednesday and 248 MW on Thursday.

On Monday, the reported power supply deficit in Mindanao was at 74 MW or 160 MW less than the current shortage.

“The areas that would be hit hardest (by the new load cuts) are those that have high power requirements like Zamboanga City, General Santos City and the Agusan area,” said Tudio, citing the NGCP’s advisory.

In this city, which has a requirement of 105 MW, the NGCP further reduced its supplies by around 10 MW or a total deficit of 40 MW, he said.

Since January, the NPC has cut down the area’s power supplies by 30 MW or around 30 percent of its power requirement.

Socoteco II had forged a supply contract with the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) to augment the area’s power supplies by 23 MW, leaving its current deficit to around 17 MW.

Tudio said that for Socoteco I’s service area, the average daily power supply cuts would reach around 5 MW based on the NGCP’s new load distribution schedule.

Socoteco I, which has a peak requirement of 31 MW, covers Koronadal City, Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat and eight municipalities in South Cotabato.

“Our regular supply has been reduced to 25 MW but we have a contracted augmentation of 5 MW from TMI so the impact of Pulangi IV’s shutdown will be very minimal here. At worst, our rotating brownouts may only reach about 30 minutes,” Tudio said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)