Gensets eyed for 2 Surigao tourist sites hit by brownouts

GENERAL LUNA, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/18 April) — Power distributors in Siargao Island and Bucas Grande are planning to purchase modular generator sets to ease the power problem in these two tourism sites, an official said this week.

Sergio C. Dagooc, general manager of Siargao Island Electric Cooperative Inc. (Siarelco) said the two islands have been experiencing two to three hours of rotational brownouts affecting several villages in the islands’ nine municipalities.

Dagooc said Siarelco has a deficit of 1.2 megawatts for its 4-MW requirement.

He added the power utility would need two modular generator sets that can supply at least 2MW.

“This will be used for peak hours to meet the power demand,” he said.

Dagooc said their 23,558 consumers were not as affected as those in other parts of Mindanao since majority of them are residential.

He cited, for example, that rotating brownouts in Surigao City and 11 towns under the Surigao Electric Cooperative reached at four to six hours daily.

He admitted that Siarelco would prioritize tourist areas in the two islands in power distribution.

“We can put the lights out in some villages to make sure these tourist areas which bring economic value to island residents may still have power. But if we will be told by National Grid Power Corporation to curtail our power load, we will do so and this will affect towns,” he said.

“Most tourists would get pissed off when the power is out,” Prudencio Meras, a local surfer said.

Brownouts seldom happen in this town, but some operators of tourism-related businesses were still worried.

“Our gasoline- and diesel-fed generator sets for our resorts are costly to maintain because price of oil products here is so high compared in other cities,” said Andreas Micoleizhik, a German national who owns and manages beach resorts in General Luna.

He said nobody likes to come if the power is unstable.

Rico Rietenbach, also a German national who owns and manages a resort here, said “we are quite lucky we don’t experience brown outs.”

General Luna Mayor Jaime P. Rusillon said most resorts here have standby power generators.

He said tourism drives the economy of the town, second only to agriculture.

The government has allotted P4 billion from the Malampaya Funds for the purchase of modular generator sets by electric cooperatives to ease the power problem in Mindanao.

Dagooc, also the president of Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives Inc., said the energy crisis in Mindanao will be solved by 2017 with the operationalization of coal-fired power plants that are now being built in parts of the island. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)