GenSan power woes to ease during Christmas season

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/6 December)– Power consumers in this city and parts of South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces are finally getting some relief from the daily rotating brownouts this Christmas season.

City Councilor Dominador Lagare III said distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) assured the local government that the area will have stable power supplies this month and possibly until early next year.

“There are no scheduled repairs of major power plants in Mindanao this month so we expect the power outages to ease during the period,” he said.

The official said Socoteco II and NGCP issued the assurance in response to an inquiry from the local government regarding the power situation in line with the city’s annual Christmas festival or “Paskuhan sa GenSan 2013.”

The festivity, which is officially slated on December 17 to 31, will have a soft opening on Friday night with the launching of the month-long Christmas trade fair dubbed “Pamilihan sa Paskuhan” at the city’s oval plaza grounds.

Lagare, who chairs the council’s committee on public utilities, said Socoteco II, through its general manager Engr. Rodolfo Ocat, guaranteed the availability of enough power supplies within the festival venue in case some unforeseen problems would occur during the period.

He said the distribution utility has signified to tap its leased 15-megawatt (MW) modular generator sets in case of a severe power shortage.

Socoteco II has been implementing daily rotating brownouts lasting two hours and 30 minutes since last month due to reduced power supplies from the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) hydropower plants.

It released a rotational brownout schedule for this week for the same duration but noted that it “will only be implemented upon necessity.”

The electric cooperative, which has listed an average daily peak demand of around 120 MW, serves this city, the entire Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

It earlier signed a power sales agreement with power producer SoEnergy Philippines to ease the area’s power shortage, which triggered daily rotating brownouts lasting seven to eight hours during the first half of the year.

Under their two-year deal, SoEnergy will “make available, reserve, guarantee and deliver” 15 MW of power at full capacity to the electric cooperative.

SoEnergy established in July a power plant composed of Caterpillar brand modular generators and other necessary facilities in a lot owned by Socoteco in Purok Lanton, Barangay Apopong here.

Socoteco II mainly draws its power supplies from the NPC but its contracted allocation has dropped below 50 MW in the last two months.

Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. presently augments the area’s power requirements by 35 MW based on an expanded power sale agreement it forged with Socoteco II.

The Alcantara Group’s Mapalad Power Corporation supplies an additional 30 MW to the area through its Iligan City-based diesel-fired power plant. (MindaNews)