SouthCot power firm to install generator sets

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 September) — In a bid to offset the worsening power shortage in parts of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces, distribution utility South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I) will fully install before end-September its leased 12-megawatt (MW) modular generator sets.

Santiago Tudio, Socoteco I general manager, said Monday the diesel-fired generator sets that they had contracted from power producer Conal Holdings Corporation arrived recently at the Davao City port and are now due for delivery to the area.

He said the modular generator sets will be installed in a lot owned by the cooperative in Barangay Morales in Koronadal City.

Based on a four-year contract signed by Socoteco I and Conal Holdings last May, Tudio said the generator sets were initially targeted to become fully operational starting Sept. 1.

But he said the scheduled installation last month was delayed due to problems with the initial project or installation site in Barangay Paraiso, Koronadal City.

Tudio said the legal counsel of Conal Holdings pushed for the transfer of the project’s location due to an ongoing legal dispute over the original site, which is part of a donated property that previously hosted the cooperative’s main offices and facilities.

“The transfer will be an advantage operation-wise since the new site is now closer and the hauling of the diesel fuel that will be used by the generators will be much easier,” he said in a radio interview.

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

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

On August 25, Socoteco I’s three supply contract with the NPC has expired, resulting to power supply cuts of around 10 MW.

Since last week, the electric cooperative started implementing daily rotational brownouts lasting two hours due to the supply cuts and a load shedding scheme imposed by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

The NGCP’s load shedding was due to the shutdown of the NPC’s Agus 4 hydroelectric plant in Lanao del Norte since August 15.

As of Monday morning, the NGCP noted in its power situation outlook that Mindanao’s system capacity stands at around 1,064 MW while the grid’s supply deficit is pegged at 155 MW.

Tudio said they are presently working with Conal Holdings, which is a subsidiary of the Alcantara-owned Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc., for the finalization of a power sales agreement for the use of the modular generator sets.

Upon the completion of the contract, he said they will immediately submit them to the Energy Regulatory Commission for approval.

With the delayed installation of the generator sets, Tudio said Conal Holdings is arranging the provision of 10 MW of power to the area through its sister company Mapalad Power Corporation (MPC).

MPC, which operates the 100-MW Iligan diesel power plant, has already agreed to augment the area’s power needs pending the operationalization of the modular generator sets. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)