NPC moves to ensure enough power on Election Day

The Agus VI hydroelectric plant at the foot of Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 May) – The National Power Corporation had ordered the release of water from Lake Lanao starting Wednesday to fill the impounding plants of the cascading Agus Complex to ensure sufficient power supply in Mindanao during the midterm elections, Undersecretary Romeo Montenegro, deputy executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority said.

Montenegro told a press briefing on Wednesday that the release of water was necessary to make sure “there is enough level of the reserve should there be a need to kick in their capacities.”

“Some of the operating units of Agus Complex are on economic shut down or adjusted economic flow, that’s being reserved in time for the need to kick in during the elections,” he said.

Majority of the hydropower sources of the island come from the state-run Agus and Pulangui hydroelectric power complexes, comprising seven plants namely, Agus 1, Agus 2, Agus 4, Agus 5, Agus 6 and Agus 7 in the Lanao provinces and Pulangui 4 in Bukidnon.

Collectively, the plants have a total installed capacity of 982.1 MW.

Although Mindanao has an excess power supply, Montenegro said “we can never predict 100 percent that there’s not going to be power interruptions or power supply problem on the Election Day itself not just in BARM but all other areas in Mindanao.”

“We cannot predict the future because there are a number of triggers for a possible interruption to our supply situation all across Mindanao,” he said.

Nilo Geroche, chief of energy industry management division of the Department of Energy, said the Energy Task Force Election, established by Department Circular 2018-05-0014, had been tasked to ensure “adequate and reliable energy supply before, during, and after elections.”

He said sufficient power supply is necessary so that the integrity of the results of the elections would not be questioned.

The task force comprises DOE, National Electrification Administration, National Power Corporation, National Transmission Corporation, Philippine National Oil company, Power Sector Assets & Liabilities Management Corporation, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and Manila Electric Company as the members of the core group.

The task force has eight members – National Electrification Administration, National Power Corporation, National Transmission Corporation, Philippine National Oil Company, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, Philippine Electricity Market Corporation, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and the Manila Electric Company. There are six other supporting organizations that are also onboard.

It will work closely with the national security group composed of the National Security Council, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Geroche said electric cooperatives and distribution utilities had already created contingency plans for the upcoming elections to ensure a successful conduct of the midterm polls. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)