Cotelco to buy genset to curb NorthCot’s power woes

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/06 April) — To augment the power needs of  North Cotabato, the Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco) is set to purchase a 5-megawatt generation set, “anytime soon”, an official said.

The procurement would be under a build-operate-transfer scheme, said Cotelco spokesman Vincent Baguio.

Baguio said their management has talked to at least two independent power producers operating in Mindanao where they could purchase the generation set.

“We are now in our finalization stage of the procurement.   At this time, we’re trying to find out which among the two has the lowest price so that the rate impact on our power consumers would not be high,” he said.

But Baguio said the procurement needs the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Aside from the embedded generation set, which is expected to be completed in five to six months from now, Cotelco will buy at least 25MW from three IPPs in the next five years.

Of the 25MW, 15MW would come from the third geothermal power plant of the Energy Development Corporation located in Mount Apo, and 5MW each from the 300-MW coal-fired power plant of the TSI of Aboitiz Power and PSAGCOR.

Since February, the province has been experiencing daily brownouts that would run for hours.

The load curtailment for the Cotelco-Main, which covers 11 towns and one city, would last five to six hours, while the Cotelco in P-PALMA Area, which covers six towns, experiences a 9- to 10-hour brownouts daily.

Baguio said that since February, the Cotelco-Main is given only 11MW load by the National Power Corporation (NPC), which is about 40 percent of its power requirement.

Since March the Cotelco-PPALMA has only been receiving a daily load of 3.8MW, which is 62-percent short of its required power supply.

Baguio said the 8MW bought from Therma Marine Inc., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, has failed to ease the power shortage.

Earlier, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said that additional investment in power generation to address generation deficiency brought by a growing power demand was “urgently needed”.

In a statement issued earlier, the NGCP said: “Considering Mindanao’s heavy dependence on hydro-electric power facilities, a power source easily affected by droughts and other volatile weather phenomena, a balanced generation mix coming from other power sources like coal, diesel, and geothermal is not only ideal, but essential in stemming the Mindanao power crisis.”

It added: “Since the NPC does not have the mandate to build and operate new power plants, the new generation capacity will have to come from private sector entities willing to invest on building and operating new power plants for Mindanao.” (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)