Power outages in SouthCot, S. Kudarat to end soon

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 Sept) – The five to six hours of daily power outages presently gripping parts of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces are seen to end in two weeks with the scheduled operationalization of the 12-megawatt (MW) modular generator sets leased by distribution utility South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I).

Santiago Tudio, Socoteco I general manager, said power producer Conal Holdings Corporation has committed to complete the installation of their contracted diesel-fed generator sets and start its streaming by September 22.

He said Conal Holdings personnel have been installing the Cummins brand generator sets at the electric cooperative’s sub-station in Barangay Morales in Koronadal City.

Socoteco I and Conal Holdings signed a four-year contract last May for the operationalization of the modular generator sets to augment the area’s power requirements.

The modular generators being installed by Conal Holdings will have a total capacity of 15 MW, of which 12 MW will be streamed to the cooperative while the remaining 3 MW will serve as standby or buffer supplies, he said.

“The power that will be supplied by the generator sets will be enough to cover for our shortage so we expect the rotating brownouts to end by then,” Tudio said in a media forum.

Socoteco I started implementing daily rotating brownouts stretching five to six hours last September 1 after its power deficit reached around 12 MW.

The electric cooperative serves Koronadal City, seven towns in South Cotabato province and the municipality of Lutayan in Sultan Kudarat. The area’s daily peak power demand is pegged at 33 to 35 MW.

Tudio said that since its three-year supply contract with the National Power Corporation (NPC) expired in late August, the latter’s power allocation to the area has so far dropped to 16 MW from the previous 32 to 33 MW.

He said the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. is augmenting the area’s supplies by 4 MW.

But Tudio said their current power load is not considered stable due to the maintenance shutdown starting last Tuesday implemented by Steag State Power Inc. in one of its two 100-MW coal-fired plants.

He said the NPC has also shut down another plant within the Agus hydroelectric complex due to a scheduled preventive maintenance.

Tudio said they are currently waiting for the release of a temporary or provisional authority from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the use of the generator sets.

He said the cooperative formally asked the ERC two weeks ago for the issuance of the provisional authority pending the approval of its power sales agreement with Conal Holdings.

“The ERC’s legal office assured us that the provisional authority will be issued by the end of the week,” he said.

Tudio said a provisional authority will mainly allow Conal Holdings to operate the generator sets while the cooperative could start charging their consumers for their use.

“But since it’s only provisional or temporary, adjustments can be made later on as to the rates or charges,” he added.