GenSan negotiates with major power consumers for voluntary de-loading

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 March)– The city government has initiated negotiations with major local power consumers and distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) for the implementation of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) voluntary de-loading scheme to ease the worsening power shortage here.

Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio said initial talks were organized by the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office and the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Socoteco II to determine the viability of enrolling large power users in the area into the DoE’s Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

ILP is a demand-side management scheme that provides compensation to participating customers who enter into a contract with a distribution utility for the voluntary interruption or reduction of the power supply to them during peak periods and emergency conditions.

She said the implementation of the scheme will allow Socoteco II to save substantial power supply and eventually reduce the daily rotating brownouts, which had increased to seven hours on Monday from six hours last Friday.

“Large establishments would use their own generator sets for three hours daily to de-load the critical Mindanao grid,” the mayor said.

Two of the city’s four shopping malls and five other companies have already expressed commitment to take part in the ILP scheme, she said.

Custodio specifically cited the KCC Mall and SM City General Santos as well as Dole Philippines, Citra Mina Group of Companies, Cargill Oil Mills, General Tuna Corporation and SAFI Group of Companies.

“With more companies being negotiated to participate, we expect to de-load the grid by at least 28 megawatts (MW) for three hours a day,” she said.

On Monday, Socoteco II increased the daily rotating brownouts in the city and parts of Sarangani and South Cotabato to seven hours due to the reduced power allocation from the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Socoteco II serves this city, the entire Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II general manager, said the extended rotating brownout was mainly caused by the declining generation capacity of the NPC hydroelectric plants in Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces.

He said the problem was reportedly caused by the low water inflow at the NPC’s Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants hydroelectric plant complexes.

The NGCP noted in its power situation outlook for Tuesday that Mindanao grid’s system capacity has dropped to 820 MW and with its system peak pegged at 1,159 MW or short by 339 MW.

Ocat said such deficiency translates to around 42 MW of power supply shortage for the area based on its daily peak demand of 112 MW.

He said the electric cooperative’s power allocation from the NPC has dropped to 40 MW starting Monday from 41 MW last Friday.

Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. augments the area’s power supplies by 30 MW based on a power sales agreement that it earlier signed with Socoteco II.

“We’re expecting that our power situation will even worsen in the coming weeks based on the NPC’s forecast,” Ocat said.

Earlier this month, Socoteco II forged a power sales agreement with the Alcantara Group’s Mapalad Power Corporation for the provision of 30 MW of additional power supplies to the area from the 102-MW Iligan diesel power plant.

Based on the agreement, Mapalad will supply an initial 12 MW to Socoteco II starting May and a full 30 MW when the plant becomes fully operational in August. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)