GenSan, 2 other provinces to face 2-hour daily rotating brownouts

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 April) — Daily rotating brownouts, this time lasting for two hours, will once again hit this “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” and neighboring provinces as the supply deficiency now has reached 20 megawatts, an official of the South CotabatoElectric Cooperative 2 (Socoteco-2) said on Wednesday.

Crisanto Sotelo, Socotecto-2 technical services department chief, said they are forced to implement a new round of power interruption from April 16 to 29 due to a worsening supply deficiency.

“This could be a recurring situation if no clear-cut long term solution is achieved,” he told MindaNews by telephone.

The announcement of the looming interruption came two days ahead of the scheduled Mindanao Power Summit that will be held in Davao City on Friday afternoon, with President Benigno Simeon Aquino attending.

Socoteco-2 , which serves this city, Sarangani province and parts of South Cotabato, first implemented a load shedding from February 22 to March 4 but only for an hour.

To augment the power supply in the city, Sotelo said Socoteco-2 has asked for another 7 MW from ThermaMarine, Inc., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation. But the power supply deal has yet to be approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, he said.

To date, Socoteco-2 has acquired 23 MW from Therma Marine to augment the dwindling power supply.

Should the ERC approve the new deal, Therma Marine would be supplying 30 MW to the distribution facility.

Sotelo said Socoteco-2 used to get 110 MW from the National Power Corporation but the latter has reduced its allocation by nearly 55MW.

He noted that peak demand for electricity in the service area of Socoteco-2 is pegged at 104 MW for the month of April.

Alfredo Hebrona Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry governor for Southwestern Mindanao, said power interruptions “have become a great concern” for the business sector, especially those in the tuna industry.

He cited the outages’ impact to the cold storage facilities of the tuna firms, noting that it increases their operational costs since they have to use generators to keep the quality of frozen products.

He said the lack of power supply is a setback to efforts by the public and private sectors to attract new investments in the area.

“Definitely, we’ll raise this issue in the upcoming Mindanao Power Summit on Friday,” Hebrona said.

He said they also want to be clarified regarding the contrasting views of the Mindanao Development Authority and the power producers.

“Who’s telling the truth?” Hebrona asked.

MinDA earlier claimed that there is an unutilized power supply in the island while the power producers said there is a generation deficiency. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)