Socoteco wants to tap gensets of GenSan’s shopping malls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 Dec) – Power utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) plans to tap the standby generator sets of shopping malls and several companies in the city to provide additional power supplies for the area in case the continuing power shortage will worsen in the coming months.

Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II general manager, said they are set to negotiate with executives of the city’s four shopping malls and eight other local companies for the implementation of a scheme that would provide around 20 megawatts (MW) of additional power supply to the cooperative’s franchise area.

He said the scheme, which is dubbed uninterruptible load program or ULP, mainly involves the voluntary use of the diesel power generating sets and plants of 13 major power users in the city for at least three hours during the daily 12-hour curtailment period.

The target companies and establishments are Citra Mina, Dole Philippines plants in Barangay Calumpang here and in Polomolok town in South Cotabato, Gaisano Mall, KCC Mall of GenSan, Robinson’s Place General Santos, SM City General Santos, RD Group of Companies, Gentuna Corporation, Cargill, MY Tan Group of Companies and the Alcantara Group’s Sarangani Aqua Resources, Inc. and Sarangani Agricultural Company, Inc.

“Instead of getting their power supplies from us, these companies will generate and provide for their own power or electricity requirements for three hours daily,” Ocat said.

He said the electric cooperative will provide for the fuel costs of the standby power generating sets and plants.

Ocat said the scheme will allow the cooperative to accumulate additional power supplies of “20 MW or more” for the other power consumers.

“It will also cut down our curtailment period to just nine hours daily,” he said.

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.

Since January, the electric cooperative was forced to implement daily rotating brownouts ranging from 45 minutes to three hours due to the reduction of the area’s power allocation from the National Power Corporation (NPC) to around 70 MW.

NPC had cut down Socoteco II’s contracted supply by around 30 MW reportedly due to the declining generating capacity of the hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte.

Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. augments the area’s requirement by 30 MW based on a supply contract earlier forged by Socoteco II.

Citing their projections, Ocat said the area’s power shortage will likely worsen by the first quarter of 2013 due to the predicted dry spell.

“The operation of the Agus hydropower plants usually slows down during that period because of low water elevation at Lake Lanao as we experienced these past years,” he said.

Aside from the implementation of the ULP, Ocat said they’re hoping that the 102-MW Iligan diesel plant could finally go on stream early next year.

He said the Alcantara Group’s Mapalad Power Corp., which had won the bidding for the plant, earlier agreed to supply 25 to 30 MW of power to the area when the plant eventually operates.

“Based on our projection, our deficit would reach around 25 to 30 MW next year. So if we would get that supply from them (Iligan diesel plant), our problem will be solved,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)