2-hour daily rotating blackout hits Surigao Norte towns

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Dec) – Nine municipalities in Surigao del Norte under the service of Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative Inc. (SURNECO) have been experiencing two-hour daily power curtailment since the last week of November.

Engr. Narciso I. Calliao Jr., SURNECO general manager, told MindaNews Monday afternoon that the blackout due to insufficient power supply is affecting nine towns in Surigao del Norte.

Calliao said SURNECO has power deficit of 4.5 megawatts from its total peak demand of 25.9 MW.

He stressed that SURNECO has three substations located in the towns of Placer, Claver and Tubod, and each of them will shut down for two hours every day on different times of the day.

He said the Placer substation covers the towns of Placer, Sison and Tagana-an; Claver substation, the towns of Claver, Gigauit and Bacuag; and Tubod substation, the towns of Tubod, Alegria and Mainit.

Surigao City and the municipalities of San Francisco and Malimono have been spared from the blackouts, Calliao said.

Aside from SURNECO, Surigao del Norte has another electric cooperative – the Siargao Islands Electric Cooperative (SIARELCO), which serves the towns of Siargao and Bucas Grande.

Calliao spoke to MindaNews after several netizens from the affected towns expressed outraged on the power situation in Surigao del Norte via their towns’ Facebook pages.

“What happened to our power supply? People pay their bills but it’s been always brownout in here,” said Robert Morales of Tubod town.

Calliao apologized for the situation, but pointed out that SURNECO is not causing the problem. “The problem is our suppliers or power generators. We hope our member-consumers would understand in this,” he said.

He added they already got some power supply contracts with other power generators like the Therma South, Inc., a coal-fired power plant in Davao City, which is expected to operate in the first quarter of 2015.

Currently, SURNECO has an existing power supply agreement with the National Power Corporation – Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (NPC-PSALM) covering 13.4 MW and another 8 MW from Therma Marine, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation.

SURNECO has a total power supply of at least 21.4 MW against a power demand peaking at 25.9 MW.

The local power utility, Calliao said, has 78,472 member-consumers as of October this year.

He said NPC-PALMS had ample power supply since June until late October.

Power supply from TMI, which is supposed to be used to augment the power demand during peaking hours, has been used as base load instead, Calliao said.

“Power supply from TMI is not that reliable enough because sometimes it will shut down due to maintenance or when it conks out,” he said.