GenSan brownouts stretch to 2.5 hours daily

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 October) — The daily rotating brownouts here and in nearby South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces have stretched to two and a half hours in the last three days due to the worsening supply shortfall of the critical Mindanao power grid.

Geronimo Desesto, institutional services division chief of the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II), said in an advisory Thursday that they have extended the daily rotating outages in the area by another 30 minutes from the previous two hours due to the increased power load cuts imposed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

He said the extended power outages would be implemented in five 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.

As of Thursday morning, the NGCP cited in its website that Mindanao’s power system capacity only stands at 974 megawatts (MW) or 263 MW short from its peak demand 1,237 MW.

But Desesto said that based on the advisories issued to the electric cooperative by the NGCP and the National Power Corporation (NPC), the “declared generation deficiency” in the Mindanao grid has so far reached 340 MW.

The deficiency, which was mainly caused by the month-long maintenance shutdown starting last Oct. 6 of Steag State Power Inc.’s 210-megawatt (MW) coal plant in Misamis Oriental, reached 370 MW on Wednesday and 380 MW on Tuesday, he said.

Aside from Steag’s maintenance shutdown, which was scheduled until Nov. 10, Mindanao’s power supply was also affected by the decreased production due to low water inflow of the NPC’s Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant in Bukidnon.

Pulangi IV reduced its generation capacity from 180 MW to 150 MW due to the plant’s declining water inflow.

“Socoteco II will maximize and dispatch any available power supply. If, during the day, there will be a system improvement, some feeders may experience shorter than the announced duration of brownout,” Desesto added.

Engr. Joseph Yanga, Socoteco II technical services supervisor, said NPC and NGCP reduced the area’s power allotment to 53 MW due to the earlier cutoff from the Mindanao grid of one of Steag’s two 105-MW generating units.

He said such allocation was 57 MW short of the city’s daily peak power demand of 110 MW.
Yanga said Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. augments the area’s requirement by 30 MW based on a supply contract earlier forged by Socoteco II. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)