10-hour brownouts hit Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 7 May) – The daily rotational brownouts in this city have further increased to as long as 10 hours brought about by the worsening power situation in the Mindanao grid.

Omar Sahi, Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) president, said Wednesday that Zamcelco is now receiving only a total of 47 megawatts power supply when its daily peak-load demand is 85MW.

The 10-hour brownouts came barely a week after Zamcelco’s 130,000 member-consumers started experiencing power outages of six to eight hours daily.

Earlier this year, the rotational brownout in this city ranged only from two to four hours a day.

Zamcelco’s electricity is being supplied by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation and two independent power producers (IPPs), namely, the Therma Marine, Inc. (TMI) and the Mapalad Power Corporation (Mapalad).

Sahi said the supply from PSALM went down further from the previous 29MW to 18MW although its contracted power to Zamcelco is 54MW.

He said PSALM’s capacity went down due to the decreasing water level at the Pulangi River in Bukidnon. Two of three turbines in the Pulangi hydropower complex were reportedly shut down.

He said the other factor that affects PSALM’s capacity to supply power is that the repair works on the two generators of the Steag State Power, Inc. have yet to be completed.

Steag operates a 210MW coal-fired power plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. Reports, however, said one of Steag’s generators will be back online on Thursday, May 8.

Sahi said the TMI is only supplying 17MW out of its 18MW contracted power to Zamcelco. Mapalad, which also has a contracted power of 18MW, only generates 12MW.

He said the generators of the two IPPs conked out due to machine “overload” as they were supposed to supply electricity to power distributors for 12 hours but have been extended to 17 hours and sometimes to 24 hours daily.

He said they could not tell until when the 10-hour brownouts will end.