‘No more’ brownouts for GenSan in July, but rates to rise—exec

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 May)– The daily rotational brownouts here and parts of nearby South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces were seen to end in July with the deployment of leased diesel-fed modular generator sets in the area.

Engr. Rodolfo Ocat, South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) general manager, said they are currently working on the lease contract for the installation and operationalization of the modular generators, which were projected to further ease, if not totally erase, the area’s current power deficit of 10 to 12 megawatts (MW).

He said the electric cooperative earlier negotiated with an undisclosed firm for the deployment of around 15 MW of modular generator sets starting July to address the continuing daily outages within its franchise area.

“We’re initially targeting to use the generator sets for five hours daily. But in terms of dispatch, they will be our last priority,” Ocat said in an interview over TV Patrol Socsksargen.

He said they will fully dispatch first the allocations from the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) and the Iligan City-based Mapalad Power Corporation (MPC) before utilizing the generator sets.

Ocat said the area’s power rates were projected to further increase by 83 centavos with the upcoming deployment of the modular generator sets.

“That will cover for the costs of operating the generator sets for five hours daily for 30 days,” he said.

Socoteco II currently charges P7.6570 per kilowatt-hour(kwh) for its residential customers, P7.6226 for lower voltage users and P5.9938 for higher voltage users.

The lower voltage category covers small and medium commercial and industrial power users, public buildings and street lights.

Those listed under the higher voltage category are heavy industrial and commercial users and major public buildings and complexes.

Socoteco II resumed the rotational outages earlier this week within its franchise area after over a week of uninterrupted power due to the conduct of the May 13 elections.

An advisory issued by Socoteco II’s technical services division said that it is presently implementing rotational brownouts lasting two hours and 30 minutes daily from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for its five area groupings.

The electric cooperative, which placed the daily peak demand from 112 to 116 MW, serves this city, the entire Sarangani and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

The distribution utility noted that the National Power Corporation’s (Napocor) power allocation for the area has dropped this week to 45.5 MW, or 2.5 MW short of its contracted supply of 48 MW for the month of May.

TMI presently augments the area’s power requirements by 48 MW based on an expanded power sale agreement it forged with Socoteco II.

MPC and the Alabel, Sarangani-based Southern Philippines Power Corporation, which are both subsidiaries of the Alcantara-owned Alsons Power Holdings, supplies an additional 5-10 MW of power to the cooperative.

In late February, Socoteco II was forced to implement rotational brownouts of seven hours in two settings daily for each of its two feeder groupings after its power deficit rose to around 40 MW.

The supply cuts, which were implemented by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, were caused by the reduced capacity of the Napocor’s hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon and the Lanao provinces.

To resolve the situation, Socoteco II increased its power sale deal with TMI to 48 MW and contracted additional supplies from MPC and other power providers. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)