SouthCot, Sarangani now with less brownouts

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Nov) – The daily rotating brownouts here and nearby Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces have eased off on Wednesday due to the improved operations of the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) Agus and Pulangi hydropower complexes in Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces.


Engr. Joseph Yanga, technical services supervisor of the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco-II), said Mindanao grid’s power deficiency has so far dropped to 270 megawatts (MW) after reaching 450 MW on Tuesday.


“The reduced power deficiency was mainly due to the increased output of the Agus and Pulangi plants,” he told MindaNews.


Citing an advisory from the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Yanga said the water inflow at the Agus and Pulangi hydropower complexes has increased in the last several days as triggered by the continuing rains in the area.


Due to the improved power situation, he said the load cuts imposed by the NGCP for the area have dropped to around 12 to 15 MW from 25 to 30 MW last Monday.


Yanga said such curtailment level translated to rotating outages of now less than three hours from close to four hours on Tuesday.


Socoteco II’s franchise area, which has an average peak demand of 105 MW, covers this city, seven municipalities of Sarangani province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.


On Tuesday, Socoteco-II was forced to extend the power outage in the area after the island’s power supply deficit rose by an additional 20 MW from the 430 MW last Monday.


In its website, the NGCP said Mindanao grid’s system capacity as of Wednesday morning only reaches 1,060 MW or 143 MW short of the area’s system peak of 1,203 MW.


In an earlier advisory, Socoteco II noted that the current power supply deficit in the Mindanao grid was mainly caused by the increased generation deficiency due to the non-availability of the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) 55-MW Agus 1 hydropower plant, reduced capacity of the 40-MW Southern Philippines Power Corporation and the preventive maintenance shutdown (PMS) of Aboitiz Power’s 100-MW Therma Marine Unit 1 from Nov. 17-22.


Compounding the situation was the reported low water inflow at the NPC’s Agus and Pulangi hydropower complexes, it said.


As a power distributor, Socoteco II said it has to adhere with the load allocation matrix set by the NPC for the area.


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


Meantime, City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio scored the NPC for not properly informing the public regarding the actual status of the Mindanao grid’s power supply levels and the condition of its hydropower plants.


“The problem is that the reports about the condition of the Agus plant were immediately sent to the NPC central office. But when you call them, they just passed you on from one person to another and not one can answer your queries,” she said.


Earlier this year, the mayor sought for an investigation by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) regarding the worsening power supply shortage in the city and other parts of Mindanao.


Such effort eventually led to creation of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC), which was tasked to coordinate efforts of national, regional and local governments, and power industry stakeholders to improve the power situation in Mindanao.


It was mandated to regularly monitor information on Mindanao power generation and distribution, including status of efforts to add new generating capacities to the grid.


MPMC is composed of the MinDA, Department of Energy, Energy Regulatory Commission, National Electrification Administration, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, Napocor and representatives from the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)