Modular genset streaming to ease brownouts in GenSan

Modular genset streaming to ease brownouts in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 March) — The two- to three-hour daily rotational brownouts here are seen to ease in the next few weeks with the planned operationalization of the 15-megawatt (MW) modular generator sets leased by distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I).

Rodolfo Ocat, Socoteco II general manager, said Thursday they are set to conduct a test run or streaming this coming weekend for the diesel-fired generator sets through its partner power provider SoEnergy International (Philippines) Inc.

He said a technical team from SoEnergy’s main base in Colombia arrived in the city on Tuesday for the scheduled test run on Saturday and Sunday.

“This (test run) is in preparation for the full operationalization of the generator sets,” he told reporters.

Ocat said they decided to utilize the generator sets in preparation for the foreseen massive power shortage in the Mindanao grid this summer season.

In April and May last year, Socoteco II 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.

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 MW.

He said the NPC’s power allocation for the area has so far gone down this month to 38 MW from the previous 60 MW.

Aside from the NPC, the electric cooperative draws 30 MW each from the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. and the Alcantara Group’s Mapalad Power Corporation.

Meantime, Ocat said they are still waiting for the approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of their rate application for the use of the generator sets.

But in an earlier meeting with City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, he signified willingness to operate the generator sets despite their pending rate application.

Rivera has repeatedly expressed support to Socoteco II’s decision to operate the generator sets.

The city council, through a resolution, earlier asked the ERC to expedite the deliberations regarding Socoteco II’s power sales agreement (PSA) application and the issuance of pertinent permits 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.

ERC has yet to issue a decision regarding the two-year deal, which details the rates that will be imposed on local power consumers for the use of the generator sets.

Under the PSA, SoEnergy Philippines will “make available, reserve, guarantee and deliver” 15 MW of power at full capacity to the electric cooperative.

SoEnergy earlier established 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.

Based on Socoteco II’s projections, an additional 52 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kwh) will be added to the area’s basic power rates if the generator sets will be used for six hours daily and P1.22 per kwh for 12 hours.

A capacity fee of 22 centavos per kwh will be charged to local power consumers while the generator units are on standby. (MindaNews)