Brownouts still hit CDO despite resumption of Aboitiz coal-fired power plant

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/08 December) — Brownouts have continued to bug Cagayan de Oro City even as Aboitiz Power Corp. has resumed operations of its coal-fired plant on Monday to help stabilize power supply in Mindanao reeling from the effects of the El Nino phenomenon.

Wilfredo Rodolfo III, communications manager of Aboitiz Power said unit 1 of their Therma Marine South which generates 150 megawatts went operational at 8am Monday.

Rodolfo said their other coal plant, also generating 150 MW, is expected to be operational by February next year.
Both Aboitiz-owned coal plants in Toril, Davao del Sur were shutdown only a few months after it went operational in August this year.

The shutdown worsened the power outlook in Mindanao whose hydropower plants are grappling with the effects of the El Nino.

Marilyn Chaves, spokesperson of the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company (CEPALCO) confirmed they have started receiving additional supply from Aboitiz, first at 3 MW and then 10 MW by 7pm Monday.

But Chaves said the extra allocation from Aboitiz was not enough for the city which is running on a deficit of 52 MW daily causing four-hour daily brownouts.

“The most it can do is shorten our daily brownouts to two and a half hours,” she said.

She said the Christmas tree made by CEPALCO in Divisoria in Cagayan de Oro—a source of pride for the residents—remained unlighted on Monday night despite the additional electricity from Aboitiz.

Romeo Montenegro, director of Mindanao Development Authority’s Investment Promotions and Public Information said major Mindanao cities like Cagayan de Oro and Davao would suffer the most because Christmas is when demand for electricity is highest.

“Smaller cities and towns can easily offset their electricity demand for Christmas by tapping to their modular generating sets,” he said.

Montenegro said the dry spell brought by El Nino has lowered the water elevation of Lake Lanao to 700.88 meters and Pulangi River in Bukidnon to 282.5 meters on Monday.

He said the Pulangi hydropower plant was only producing 60 MW instead of 255 MW that it produces in normal times.

On the other hand, he said, the Agus hydropower plants, a complex of six plants, was only producing 269 MW instead of its capacity of 700 MW. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)