NorthCot’s power situation improves

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/9 May) – Residents and traders in North Cotabato have enjoyed a better supply of electricity starting Tuesday night with only one to two hours of brownouts daily after Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco) was given a “go signal” to draw power from Therma Marine, Inc. (TMI) of Aboitiz Power.

The drawing of eight megawatts of power from the TMI’s barge at Maco, Compostela Valley started around 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to Wilfredo Rodolfo, head of the Aboitiz Power’s corporate communications and community relations office.

Cotelco general manager Godofredo Homez said the province is now enjoying 28MW to 30MW of power daily. Thus, some of the substations of the cooperative will experience only one to two hours of rotating blackouts.

The cooperative has at least five substations in the province’s 17 towns and one city that service at least 98,000 electric consumers.

Homez is hopeful the power situation in North Cotabato will improve further once the Pulangi 4 hydroelectric power plant in Maramag, Bukidnon starts its operations anytime this week. The hydro plant underwent preventive maintenance starting April 19.

“If the power plant starts its operations this week, at least 180MW of power would be added to the Mindanao grid, thus, decreasing the region’s power deficiency from 400MW to 220MW. This would mean an improved power situation for the province,” said Homez.

Since January, the province, despite being host to two geothermal power plants located at Mount Apo, has been experiencing long rotating blackouts.

On April 28, a local official from Kidapawan City filed a civil case against Energy Secretary Jose Almendras and other power firm executives at the Regional Trial Court Branch 23 here.

Vice Mayor Joseph Evangelista urged the court to oblige Department of Energy and other related agencies to supply Cotelco its 25-percent priority load dispatch, as mandated by law, from the power generated by the geothermal facilities of the Energy Development Corporation. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)