Brownouts back in parts of Mindanao

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/02 September)— Here comes the brownouts again in some parts of Mindanao.

Daily rotating brownouts lasting up to six hours are once again back in South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces and the cities of General Santos and Koronadal due to the lack of power supply in the Mindanao grid.

Santiago Tudio, South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Socoteco-I) general manager, said in an advisory Monday that its service area has a deficit of 12.3 megawatts (MW), or equivalent to three to six hours rotational load curtailment.

“We appeal for your understanding as we again face power generation deficiency. Some of our power plants are undergoing maintenance repairs that resulted in the reduction of the Mindanao generation capacity,” he said.

Tudio noted that Socoteco-I has a supply of just 20.3 MW against the peak demand of 33 MW.

Owing to this, he said that Socoteco is implementing a rotating brownout of three hours per feeder twice a day, or a total of six hours daily.

Socoteco-I serves this city and the towns of Tantangan, Tampakan, Banga, Surallah, Norala, Sto. Nino, T’boli and Lake Sebu and Lutayan in Sultan Kudarat.

For Socoteco-2, Rodolfo Ocat, the utility’s general manager, said the duration of the rotational brownouts would be two and a half hours daily per feeder.

“The Mindanao grid is currently experiencing generation deficiency due to the reduced capacity of hydropower plants,” he said.

Socoteco-2 serves General Santos City, the whole of Sarangani province, which has seven municipalities, and the towns of Polomolok and Tupi in South Cotabato.

The distribution utility has a supply of nearly 100 MW against the daily peak demand of 110MW.

On Monday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said on its website that the island has a deficiency of 155 MW, out of an available supply of 1,064 MW.

Bryan Diosma, technical staff of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC), earlier said that brownouts would be back in parts of Mindanao starting August until the end of the year with the scheduled preventive maintenance of power plants operating in the island.

The 200-MW Steag State Power Corp. already shut down its Unit 1 (100 MW) last July 27 until August 14, Agus 4 from August 15 to October 19 (250 MW), and Steag’s Unit 2 from September 21 to October 27 (100 MW), according to data from the Mindanao Development Authority, which serves as the secretariat of the MPMC.

But Diosma said the deficit “will not be as worse” like early this year, citing the scheduled start of operation of the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM) later this September and the Interruptible Load Program of the Department of Energy (DOE).

The IMEM “is a venue for the transparent and efficient utilization of all available capacities in the Mindanao grid to meet the supply deficiency” while ILP provides incentives for large companies with their own power generation capacity to sell their excess power to the grid.

In Bukidnon, areas serviced by the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco) have also experienced daily brownouts since last week. The power outages would last from one hour to 1.5 hours.

Aside from Malaybalay City, Buseco services the province’s northern towns of San Fernando, Cabanglasan, Impasugong, Sumilao, Manolo Fortich, Libona, Malitbog, Lantapan, Talakag and Baungon. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)