Coal plant shutdown causes brownouts

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/18 Oct) – The shutdown of one of the biggest power plants in Mindanao caused the power curtailment in many parts of the island, North Cotabato among them, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announced today.

 STEAG State Power, Inc. (SPI) in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.Photo Courtesy of STEAG SPI Website
STEAG State Power, Inc. (SPI) in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.Photo Courtesy of STEAG SPI Website

Bambie Capulong, head of the communications department of NGCP-Mindanao, said that the STEAG State Power, Inc. (SPI) has shut down its coal-fired power plant based in Misamis Oriental since October 6.

The shutdown for preventive maintenance would continue until October 24, the SPI earlier said.

Immediately after the SPI shut off one of its coal plants, the NGCP scheduled power rationing in Mindanao.

“Because of the shut down, the power deficiency in Mindanao has reached from 150MW up to 200 megawatts on a daily basis, depending on the generation and demand of the local power consumers,” said Capulong.

Another coal plant, also owned by the SPI, would shut off its system from October 24 until first week of November, she stressed.

Both coal-fired plants, each with a capacity of 105 megawatts, provide about 20 percent of the current power capacity of the entire Mindanao.

The Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco), which supplies electricity to some 98,000 power consumers in North Cotabato, is one of those affected in the power rationing.

Vincent Baguio, spokesperson for Cotelco, said that their cooperative is again short of power supply so they scheduled load curtailment, which lasts from 30 minutes to an hour daily.

Because of the shutdown of SPI’s plant, Cotelco is short of at least 4MW of power daily, he added.

“For the month of October, Cotelco has contracted some 20 megawatts of power from the NGCP.  We had a contract with Therma Marine, Inc. for at least 8MW.  Our total daily demand is about 32MW so we’re short of 4MW,” said Baguio.

When Pulangi-4 hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon shut off its system on April this year, Cotelco implemented daily brownouts that lasted eight hours, earning the ire of many power consumers.

This caused power consumers in Kidapawan City to organize themselves where they demanded, among other things, to supply Cotelco at least 25 percent of the capacity of the geothermal power plants from Mount Apo.

The plants are owned by Energy Development Corporation of the Lopez Group of Companies.

The demand, however, has fell on deaf ears. (Malu Cadeliña-Manar / MindaNews)