GenSan brownouts down to 1 hour

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 March) – The daily rotating outages here are now down to just an hour due to the operationalization of the 15-megawatt (MW) modular generator sets leased by distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II).

Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II general manager, said in an advisory issued on Wednesday that they have started streaming 12 MW of power from the diesel-fired modular generator sets, which are operated by its partner power provider SoEnergy International (Philippines) Inc.

SoEnergy installed last year 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.

The project received an environmental compliance certificate last June 7 from the Environmental Management Bureau-Region 12 based in Koronadal City.

Ocat said SoEnergy officially launched its commercial operation last March 22, starting with a final test run within its service area.

Socoteco II serves this city, the entire Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

Ocat said the area’s power supplies are presently short by around 10 MW based on its daily peak demand of 105 to 110 M.

The electric cooperative draws around 40 MW of power from the National Power Corporation and 30 MW each from the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. and the Alcantara Group’s Mapalad Power Corporation.

He said such shortage is equivalent to 2 hours and 30 minutes of daily rotational brownouts for its 44 feeder stations within the area.

But Ocat said the 12 to 15 MW additional power supplies provided by the modular generator sets effectively reduced the area’s daily outages by around two hours.

In a separate advisory, Socoteco II’s technical services department said they reduced the rotational brownout schedule within its service area to just one hour.

It set the outage schedule from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., covering nine feeder groupings in the area.

“This is still in view of the reduced power supply allocation (for the area). The schedule will only be implemented upon its necessity, as per advisory of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines,” it said.

Socoteco II earlier decided to utilize the generator sets in preparation for the foreseen massive power shortage in the Mindanao grid this summer.

In April and May last year, the electric cooperative was forced to implement daily rotational brownouts lasting up to seven hours due to the reduction of power supplies coming from the hydroelectric plants of the National Power Corporation (NPC) in Bukidnon and Lanao provinces.

The power supply shortage was blamed on the declining water levels along Lake Lanao and the Pulangi River, where the hydroelectric plants are located.

Meantime, Ocat assured local consumers that “only the tariff approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will be applied in the billing computation” for the use of the generator sets.

“The rate increase will be between 32 centavos to P1.38 per kilowatt hour, depending on the modular generating sets’ duration of operation,” he said.

Socoteco is currently waiting for the final approval by the ERC of their rate application for the use of the generator sets.

The ERC conducted a public hearing on October 30 last year for the application filed by Socoteco II on August 28 for the approval of its PSA with SoEnergy “with prayer for provisional authority.”

The application pertains to the PSA executed between Socoteco II and SoEnergy Philippines Inc. on May 28, 2013 that was amended on July 23.