Another Mindanao power plant shuts down

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 8 May) – The 105-megawatt addition from Steag State Power came hardly a relief for the power-starved Mindanao consumers after another diesel-fired power plant was shut down for maintenance in Zamboanga City, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.

Brian Diosma, of the MinDA Power Monitoring Committee, said the 50MW power plant owned by Western Mindanao Power Corporation in Barangay Sangali, Zamboanga City went offline early this week.

“The management notified us last May 6 that they have scheduled their diesel-fired plant for maintenance,” Diosma said.

He said the company under the Alcantara and Sons (Alsons) power group promised that the power plant would be operational again “in a couple of days.”

Last Wednesday night, Steag started supplying 105MW of electricity after one of its power turbines went back online. Operation of the company’s two turbines was disrupted during a Mindanao-wide fault last Feb. 27.

Rafael Paguio, vice president of the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company, Inc. (CEPALCO), said the utility received only 10MW from Steag’s supply on Thursday, the morning after the coal plant went back online.

Paguio said the additional 10MW mean that 30 minutes were shaved off from the 7.5-hour scheduled brownout in Cagayan de Oro.

“We are breaking again the schedule brownouts into two groups to ease the consumers because we have been receiving many complaints,” he said.

Paguio said CEPALCO received a total of 39MW Thursday morning. He said the city requires 140MW of electricity every day.

He said CEPALCO is presently drawing 42MW from its Minergy power plant; 2MW from the Bobonawan River run off project ; and 1MW from its solar plant in Barangay Indahag.

“We are still on the deficit. That is the reason why we cannot ease the brownouts,” Paguio said.

The power situation in Zamboanga and Davao cities are also grim.

Omar Sahi, Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) president, said Zamcelco is only receiving 47MW while their daily peak demand is 85MW.

He said this forced Zamcelco to implement a 10-hour brownout in Zamboanga City.

Journalist Frencie Carreon said the brownouts in Zamboanga City also extends by as much as 14 hours.

“We can barely work. There are no news stories coming out about our predicament,” Carreon said.

In Davao City, rotating brownouts have been increased from six to 7.5 hours.

But MinDA’s Diosma said that the DLPC reported that their precarious power situation has been eased by Steag’s 105MW.

“Davao Light might ease their brownouts to only four hours,” he said.

Mindanao’s electric cooperatives also fared well in the present power crisis since many of them resorted to buying modular generating sets to feed them with electricity.

Marebec Cagalawan, communications officer of the Misamis Oriental Rural Electric Service Cooperative 1 (MORESCO-1), said their franchise area, which covers the western towns in Misamis Oriental and several mountain villages in Cagayan de Oro, is sparsely populated.

She said factories in the area have contributed their spare electricity for use by the other consumers.

“We are only experiencing two-hour brownouts,” Cagalawan said.