Implementation of DOE’s Interruptible Load Program pushed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 April) – Distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) is pushing for the implementation by next month of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Interruptible Load Program (ILP) in a bid to ease the worsening power shortage here and the nearby areas.

Crisanto Sotelo, acting Socoteco II general manager, said they have opened negotiations with several large power users in the area to encourage them to participate in the ILP or voluntary de-loading scheme.

Seven companies and business establishments based in this city and nearby Polomolok town in South Cotabato have initially signified to explore the viability of adopting the scheme, he said.

He specifically cited the KCC Veranza mall, SM City General Santos, Robinsons Place, Gaisano, Dole Philippines plants in Barangay Calumpang here and in Polomolok town and Cargill Philippines.

ILP is a demand-side management scheme that provides compensation to participating customers who enter into a contract with a distribution utility for the voluntary interruption or reduction of the power supply to them during peak periods and emergency conditions.

The Energy Regulatory Commission granted authority to Socoteco II on September 23 last year to implement and offer the ILP to large power users in the area.

Under the scheme, Sotelo said large establishments would use their own generator sets for a certain period to reduce the area’s power demand and de-load the critical Mindanao grid.

He said Socoteco II will pay for the fuel consumption of the generator sets of the participating companies and eventually pass them on to local consumers.

Based on their computation, Sotelo said the area’s basic rates would increase by around 11 centavos per kilowatt-hour for the three-hour use of the generator sets in two days.

“We could save around 12 megawatts (MW) of power and reduce our rotational brownouts by one hour,” he said.

Socoteco II, which serves this city, the entire Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato, increased the area’s rotational brownouts last week to two hours and 30 minutes after its power deficit rose to 28 MW.

In an advisory, the electric cooperative said the deficit was mainly caused by the reduction of its power allocation from the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

It said the NGCP reduced the area’s allocation to 32 MW since Monday as a result of the declining generation capacity of the NPC’s hydroelectric plants in Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces and the non-operation of Steag State Power Corporation’s 210 MW coal-fired power plants in Misamis Oriental.

Aside from NPC, Socoteco II draws 30 MW each from the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. and the Alcantara Group’s Mapalad Power Corporation and 13 MW from the modular generator sets operated by SoEnergy Philippines.

The NGCP noted in its power situation outlook for Thursday that Mindanao grid’s system capacity has dropped to 1,021 MW and with its system peak pegged at 1,273 MW or short by 252 MW.