SouthCot, Sarangani to get stable power from diesel gensets

SouthCot, Sarangani to get stable power from diesel gensets

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 June) – Power supplies in this city and parts of nearby South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces are expected to stabilize in the next two weeks with the streaming of an additional 15 megawatts (MW) of power from the diesel-fired modular generator sets leased by distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II).

Joy Celeste Alora, Socoteco II information officer, said the leased modular generator sets were delivered earlier this week by power provider SoEnergy International and are now being installed in a property owned by the electric cooperative in Purok New Society of Barangay Apopong here.

She said the installation and testing of the generator units, which were supplied by equipment giant Caterpillar Inc., will take about a week.

Socoteco II signed a power sales agreement with SoEnergy late last month for the augmentation of the area’s power supplies using diesel-fed modular generator units.

The two-year deal specifically provides for the operationalization of the modular generator sets and the provision of 15 MW of embedded power supplies to the electric cooperative starting July.

Alora said the Miami-based SoEnergy, which was earlier designated by Caterpillar Inc. as its global provider for international power projects, had won the bidding conducted by Socoteco II for the lease of the modular generator sets.

She said the electric cooperative decided to tap the modular generator sets to ease the area’s power shortage after the Department of Energy offered them as an option through a soft financing scheme.

Socoteco II decided to conduct its own bidding and did not opt for the joint bidding of the Association of Mindanao Electric Cooperatives to facilitate the faster deployment of the generator sets, she said.

Alora said the electric cooperative will only use the modular generator once it gets the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Based on Socoteco II’s projections, an additional 52 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kwh) will be added to the area’s basic power rates if the generator sets will be used for six hours daily and P1.22 per kwh for 12 hours.

A capacity fee of 22 centavos per kwh will be charged to local power consumers while the generator units are on standby.

“They will mainly serve as our standby power source and we will only use them as our last option,” she said in a radio interview.

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

Socoteco II is presently implementing daily rotational brownouts lasting 2 hours and 30 minutes for its five area feeder groups.

The electric cooperative serves this city, the entire Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

Alora said the area’s daily power demand currently peaks at around 115 to 119 MW due to the opening of new business establishments, among them a major mall expansion and a hotel.

She said that from last year’s peak demand of 112 MW, the area’s power requirements are projected to breach 120 MW by the end of the year due to the opening of two major processing plants here and in nearby Polomolok town.

For this month, she said the NPC has further cut down its power allocation to the cooperative to just 39 MW or 9 MW short of its contracted power for the month of May.

TMI presently augments the area’s power requirements by 30 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 MW and 10 MW of power to the area, respectively.

“Our assured power supply is still quite low but NPC has been providing us with some extra allocation due to the improved operations of its hydroelectric plants,” Alora said.

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 NPC’s hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon and the Lanao provinces.