Long rotational brownouts back in parts of Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/1 March) – Long daily power interruption in several parts of Mindanao is back again due to a supply shortage.

Before the May midterm elections last year, daily rotational brownouts lasting up to eight hours also affected certain parts of the island due to power generation deficiency.

Last Thursday, a Mindanao-wide power outage lasted for several hours, with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) saying on Saturday that based on an initial report, the tripping “emanated from the breaker of a switchyard in a power plant.” It did not identify the power plant, however.

In a text message, the NGCP also said that an investigation, which is closely monitored by the Department of Energy, is underway to determine the cause of the system-wide shutdown.

The NGCP website on Saturday showed a deficiency of 338 MW in the Mindanao grid, which has a system capacity of 946 MW against a peak demand of 1,284 MW.

As this developed, the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco) confirmed it is implementing anew a daily rotational brownout lasting at least eight hours due to the generation deficiency in the Mindanao grid.

Zamcelco president Omar Sahi disclosed that the distribution utility’s supply was reduced to 55 megawatts (MW), or a shortage of 33 MW to meet the daily peak demand of 88 MW.

The available supply comes from the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. and private power producer Therma Marine, Inc. at 41.6 MW and 13.5 MW, respectively.

“We lack 33 MW and that is equivalent to an eight-hour brownout because every 4 MW shortage of power translates to a one hour brownout,” Sahi explained.

Sahi said the rotational brownout Saturday, the second day of implementation, ranges from eight to nine hours, which is shorter than Friday’s nine to 10 hours.

He said the rotational brownout is being implemented in four frequencies at two hours per frequency.

Sahi said that one of the reasons why there is a power shortage is because the Bukidnon-based Pulangi IV only supplies 90 MW to the Mindanao grid, which is lesser by more than half of its total generating capacity of 255 MW.

He also said that TMI only supplies to Zamcelco 13.5 MW instead of the contracted 18 MW since its Barge No. 2 is out of order.

Sahi said they were also informed that the Agus II is still out of order to date.

He said they are looking for additional sources of power and one of the potential supplier is the Bukidnon-based Crystal Sugar Company.

Sahi also said that the plan to purchase a 16-MW modular generator set is now being processed after the completion of the bidding.

In Koronadal City, the South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Socoteco 1) also imposed a rotational brownout on Saturday lasting for five hours per feeder, up from Friday’s three hours.

Santiago Tudio, Socoteco-1 manager, said they have no idea when the power supply situation in Mindanao would normalize.

In Cotabato City, the distribution utility there also advised on Saturday the implementation of a one-hour daily rotational brownout. (MindaNews)