Power interruption hits Mindanao anew

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/08 August) — Parts of Mindanao suffered power interruptions anew due to declining generation capacity brought about by emergency shutdown and preventive maintenance operations of some plants in the island, industry officials said on Wednesday.

Milfrance Capulong, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines corporate communications officer for Mindanao said the power situation in the island is back anew to the red alert status level, meaning a severe deficiency in supply.

“There has been an increase in the curtailment level since August 1. Power deficiency in the Mindanao grid has reached a high of 400 megawatts last Monday,” she said.

Typhoon Gener last week also affected some of the transmission facilities of the NGCP that contributed to the problem, she added.

Capulong did not identify the power plants that went on emergency shutdown as well as on preventive maintenance.

She could not also say when the power supply would be sufficient that would warrant no load shedding.

Santiago Tudio, South Cotabato Electric Cooperative 1 (Socoteco-1) manager, said they implemented a one-hour rotating brownout due to the load curtailment.

The schedule of interruption, however, could change depending on the advisory of the NGCP, he said.

“The brownouts that we’re experiencing would continue unless new power plants would rise,” Tudio said.

Socoteco-1 serves this city and eight towns in South Cotabato and Lutayan in Sultan Kudarat.

He again blamed the lack of power supply buffeting Mindanao to the generation deficiency.

Tudio said the National Power Corp.-operated Agus and Pulangi hydropower plants have declining capacities due to low water level.

He added that supply coming from Therma Marine Corp., a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Power Corp., was also reduced due to a problem on its facility.

Rodolfo Ocat, South Cotabato Electric Cooperative 2 manager, said they started implementing the daily rotating brownout last Friday, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

He said the two-hour daily rotating brownout will last until Saturday in its coverage area, which includes this city, the whole of Sarangani province and two towns in South Cotabato.

“The power situation, as advised by the NGCP, is unstable,” Ocat said in an advisory.

The STEAG State Power Inc., which has two plants each capable of producing 100 MW, was supposed to go into preventive maintenance over the weekend but did not push through, Jerome R. Soldevilla, the company’s spokesperson, said on the phone.

The first unit was supposed to be shut down for preventive maintenance on August 4 to 5 but it didn’t happen since our technical personnel had fixed those needing repairs beforehand, he said.

The second unit was scheduled for repair on August 18 and 19 but this again won’t anymore take place because we had the opportunity to fix things even before, Soldevilla said.

In effect, the Mindanao grid would be spared a total loss of 400 MW in a four-day period since the scheduled shutdown for preventive maintenance had been and will be waived, he said. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)