Power outages in GenSan, vicinity extend to 7 hours

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/01 October) — The daily rotational brownouts in this city and parts of South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces have stretched to seven hours on Tuesday due to a major power load cut imposed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) after the toppling of its transmission tower in North Cotabato last Friday.

Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II general manager, said they were forced to increase the area’s rotational outages from 2.5 hours to seven hours daily after the NGCP reduced their load-to-maintain allocation starting Monday to 60 megawatts (MW).

He said such allocation is almost half of the daily power demand of around 110 MW of its franchise area, which covers this city, two municipalities of South Cotabato and the entire Sarangani Province.

Ocat said they initially set the new curtailment schedule to two days or until Wednesday, depending on the progress of the ongoing repairs on the NGCP’s damaged transmission tower.

He said they have divided the area into two feeder groups, with each getting 3.5 hours of curtailment in two sets daily.

Key areas of Region 12 have been experiencing long brownouts since Saturday following the blasting by unidentified men of the NGCP’s tower 141 in Kabacan, North Cotabato at around 7:40 p.m. last Friday.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

On Monday, distribution utilities South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I) and Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative (Sukelco) implemented rotational brownouts lasting five to six hours daily as a result of the incident.

Socoteco I serves Koronadal City, Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat and eight municipalities of South Cotabato.

Sukelco’s franchise area covers 14 localities in Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces.

Ocat said the toppling of the transmission tower has caused congestion on the NGCP’s transmission line from Kibawe in Bukidnon to Kabacan and to its Simuay substation in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

“Being at the tail-end of the transmission loop, Socoteco II suffered very low load-to-maintain allocation,” he said in an advisory.

Ocat said the NGCP imposed the power load cut to avoid tripping of the Mt. Apo Geothermal and the Southern Philippines Power Corporation power plants.

Due to the congestion of the NGCP’s transmission lines, Socoteco II was temporarily constrained to utilize its contracted power supplies from the Mapalad Power Corporation (MPC) and the Therma Marine Inc. (TMI), he said.

The electric cooperative earlier signed separate power sales agreements with the Alcantara-owned MPC and Aboitiz Power’s TMI for the augmentation of 30 MW of power each to the area.

Ocat added that the rotational brownouts will remain in effect until the “complete restoration of the toppled tower, which NGCP estimated to happen within seven days.” (MindaNews)