Socoteco I seeks 10-MW power supply deal as shortage looms

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 August) — Distribution utility South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I) is negotiating with power producer Mapalad Power Corp. (MPC) for a 10-megawatt (MW) supply deal to help offset another looming power shortage in the area.

Santiago Tudio, Socoteco I general manager, said Monday they are working for the signing of a power sales agreement with the MPC before its three-year supply contract with the National Power Corporation (NPC) expires on August 25.

He said the Alcantara-controlled firm, which operates the 100-MW Iligan diesel power plant, initially agreed to provide 10 MW of power to Socoteco I starting September 1.

Socoteco I serves Koronadal City, seven towns in South Cotabato province and the municipality of Lutayan in Sultan Kudarat.

“As I understand, its (MPC) 100 MW was already contracted out earlier to the other cooperatives but it agreed to find a way to come up with our requested supplies,” he said in a radio interview.

Tudio said the Socoteco I board pushed for the signing of a power deal with the MPC to avert a major power shortage that might trigger anew long daily rotational brownouts in the area.

He earlier projected that the area’s power supplies will be reduced by about half with the expiration of its 20 MW-supply contract with the NPC.

The power supply cut from the NPC could result to daily rotating brownouts of around seven hours, he said.

NPC started reducing its allocation to electric cooperatives in Mindanao last year due to the declining capacity of its hydropower plants in Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte.

The electric cooperative’s daily peak demand reaches around 32 MW, the bulk of which is supplied by the NPC. It has a standby supply of 4 MW from the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc.

Tudio said the cooperative has leased around 12 MW of modular generator sets but their installation, which was slated earlier this month, is facing some delays.

The diesel-fed generator sets will be put up in a compound in Barangay Paraiso in Koronadal City that previously hosted the electric cooperative’s main offices.

In late June, Socoteco I signed a supply contract with NV Vogt Philippines Solar Energy One, Inc. for a 5-MW embedded power through the latter’s planned P1 billion solar power plant in Surallah town.

The construction of the 20-hectare solar power plant, which is touted as the country’s biggest, is slated to begin in September and expected to go on stream by January 2014.

Last month, the electric cooperative also signed a 25-year supply deal with Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) for the streaming of 10 MW of power from the company’s 210-MW coal-fired power plant in Maasim town in Sarangani Province starting late 2015.

SEC is a 75-25 joint venture between Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. and Japanese firm Toyota Tsusho Corp.

The coal plant’s first 105-MW unit is expected be completed by August 2015 while the second will be completed the following year. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)