Modular generators to plug Mindanao power woes

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 March) — The worsening power shortage affecting parts of Mindanao is seen to ease by the end of the month with the targeted streaming of around 100 megawatts (MW) of additional power supplies from the diesel-fired modular generator sets leased by several local electric cooperatives.

Santiago Tudio, general manager of South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative, said Friday the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has signified to deliberate and resolve on March 17 all pending rate applications and certificates of compliance (COC) for the leased generator sets to facilitate their immediate utilization.

He said the ERC’s legal department specifically assured that it would expedite the processing and issuance of the necessary permits within the next two weeks.

“It (ERC) will deliberate all applications filed by electric cooperatives that have either leased or purchased their own modular generator sets,” Tudio said in a radio interview.

He said the ERC scheduled the deliberations following interventions from the House of Representatives’ committee on energy and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA)-led Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee.

House energy committee chair and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali and MinDA chairperson Secretary Luwalhati Antonino specifically asked the Department of Energy and the ERC to fast track the approval and release of the applied rates and COCs of the generator sets, he said.

The approval of Socoteco I’s rate application and the COC for its leased 12-MW generator sets remained pending at the ERC since its installation was completed in October last year.

Among those that have pending rate applications and COCs are the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II), Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative and the Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur electric cooperatives.

Socoteco I, which lists a daily peak demand of 33 MW, is currently implementing five to six hours of daily rotational brownouts due to the power supply cuts imposed by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

The electric cooperative serves Koronadal City, eight municipalities of South Cotabato province and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.

Based on the NGCP’s power situation outlook as of Friday morning, the Mindanao grid’s system capacity is only 938 MW or 334 MW short of its system peak of 1,272 MW.
Tudio said the load cuts were mainly due to the reduction of power supplies coming from the hydroelectric plants of the National Power Corporation (NPC) in Bukidnon and Lanao provinces.

He said the power supply shortage was triggered by the declining water levels in the last several weeks in Lake Lanao and the Pulangi River, where the hydroelectric plants are located.

“The Agus and Pulangi plants were de-rated by the NPC as the water levels there already reached the critical level,” he said.

Citing an advisory from the NGCP, Tudio said the shortage was compounded by the breakdown of two coal-fired power plants of the Steag State Power Corporation in Misamis Oriental.

“With the summer season now approaching, we expect the shortage to even worsen in the coming weeks. So we really need to run our modular generator sets the soonest possible time,” he added. (MindaNews)