Power shortage looms in Mindanao after Christmas

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/11 December) – Mindanao will experience a new round of power shortage starting Dec. 26 as the National Power Corporation-Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (NPC-PSALM) will reduce its power supply to electric cooperatives in the island, Sergio Dagooc, president of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO) on Thursday said.

The decrease “would result to a 27-percent reduction in the equivalent demand and its corresponding contracted energy of the Mindanao customers on the average,” according to the Nov. 5 letter from Beatriz Irina Denise C. Alazas, manager of Electric Trading Department of NPC-PSALM.

Alazas said NPC-PSALM may change the contract demand annually due to a change in the projected available capacity of their power plants and at any time during the duration of the contract due to the privatization of any of their assets pursuant to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or Epira.

She said the decrease in power generation is due to the privatization of the Mt. Apo Geothermal Plant in Kidapawan City, scheduled privatization of Power Barge 104 in the first quarter of 2015, and scheduled shutdown of NPC MINGEN power plants due to planned maintenance, uprating and rehabilitation projects.

Dagooc said Amreco has filed a resolution before the Department of Energy requesting the latter to intervene as well as maintain the status quo of the present contract demand between the NPC-PSALM and the electric cooperatives.

Dagooc, who manages two electric cooperatives in Caraga, Siargao Electric Cooperative Inc. (Siarelco) and Dinagat Electric Cooperative Inc. (Dielco), said they are still trying to find ways to obtain a status quo for the present contract demand.

Amreco is composed of 33 electric cooperatives, six of which are considered Small Power Utility Group located in island provinces like Dinagat and Basilan.

The six cooperatives have their own generators while the 27 others rely on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines which sources mainly from NPC-PSALM and independent power producers.

Siarelco, which has a total power demand of four megawatts, will have its supply reduced by 1.08 MW.

But Dielco and the other members of the Small Power Utility Group will not be affected by a decrease in supply as they have their own generators.

Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative Inc. (Surneco), which services Surigao City and 11 towns of Surigao del Norte, currently faces a power deficit of 4.5 MW, according to general manager Narciso I Caliao Jr.

 

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

 

Caliao said the impending reduction in supply will worsen their woes.

With the current power deficit, nine municipalities in Surigao del Norte serviced by Surneco have been experiencing two-hour daily power curtailment since the last week of November.

 

Surigao City and the municipalities of San Francisco and Malimono, however, have been spared from the blackouts so far. But the 27-percent reduction after Christmas will surely affect the city and all municipalities, Caliao pointed out.

“A reduction will be 3.6 MW from the current supply of 13.4 MW from NPC-PSALM,” he said.

Aside from its 13.4-MW supply from NPC-PSALM, Surneco also gets 8 MW from Therma Marine Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)

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