Power supply in Surigao Norte to worsen after Christmas; rest of Mindanao may be affected too

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 Dec) – On to of the two-hour daily blackouts in nine towns of Surigao del Norte, the power situation in the province is expected to worsen some more after Christmas as the National Power Corporation-Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (NPC-PSALM) will reduce the energy it will supply to the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative (SURNECO) by 27 percent.

But the rest of Mindanao may be affected, too, as the “decrease in the power supply from NPC-PSALM” effective Dec. 26 “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, to SURNECO.

Engr. Narcisco I. Caliao Jr., general manager of SURNECO, said that in the case of SURNECO, reduction will be 3.6 megawatts from the current supply of 13.4 MW from NPC-PSALM.

SURNECO’s contract with NPC-PSALM covers the period Dec. 26, 2012 to Dec. 26, 2016.

But “the contract energy may be changed by supplier [NPC-PSALM] annually due to a change in the projected available capacity of supplier’s power plants and at any time during the duration of the contract due to the privatization of any of the assets of supplier pursuant to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA Law,” Alazas further said.

Alazas also said that the decrease in the power generation is due to these factors: 1. privatization of the Mt. Apo Geothermal Plant in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato; 2. scheduled privatization of Power Barge 104 in the first quarter of 2015; and 3. scheduled shutdown of NPC MINGEN power plants due to planned maintenance, uprating and rehabilitation projects.

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.

SURNECO has a total power supply of 21.4 MW against a power demand peaking at 25.9 MW, and thus a deficit of 4.5 MW, Caliao said.

With the current power deficit, nine municipalities in Surigao del Norte under SURNECO’s service 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.

SURNECO has a total of 78,472 member-consumers as of October this year.

To avert the possible prolonged brownouts, SURNECO officials is negotiating to get at least 5 MW power supply from FDC Misamis Power Corp., a unit of Filinvest Development Corp. owned by the Gotianun family, which recently emerged as the highest bidder for the right to manage the output of Mount Apo 1 and 2 geothermal power plants.

Caliao said that he and some SURNECO officials will be attending a coordination meeting with FDC in Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday (Dec. 11) to ensure they would get the 5 MW contract.

Caliao added they already successfully negotiated a 5 MW contract with Therma South, Inc., which has a coal-fired power plant in Davao City expected to operate in the first quarter of 2015.