Power demand in Mindanao picking up amid pandemic

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 September) – The demand for power in Mindanao has returned to its pre-COVID level, a sign that the island’s economy was slowly recovering under a “new normal” with many companies resuming operations at a scaled down capacity, Mindanao Development Authority Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said.

During a virtual press conference, Montenegro said daily power consumption in the island is now averaging between 1,700 and 1,800 megawatts (MW), its pre-COVID demand, which is higher compared to the average daily consumption of 1,300 MW in May this year.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines reported that Mindanao’s power demand peaked at 1,772 MW at 12 noon on Thursday, recording an excess of 1,207 MW out of the 2,979 MW in total system capacity.

The dam of the Pulangui hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

“We are noting a slight reduction of this considering that most of the energy-hungry establishments such as malls, hotels, and industries are operating at a reduced capacity or have ceased operation, and that is a dent on our power demand situation in Mindanao,” Montenegro said.

He cited that the busy cargo movements in major thoroughfares, which had caused traffic congestion, indicated that the flow of goods had already gone back to normal.

“We are seeing busy cargo movements. That’s’ why, if you drive along main thoroughfares we’re bound to traffic, essentially because we are seeing heavy traffic of cargo loads or 10-wheeler, 40-footer container trucks, refrigerated vans and many other indicators of getting-back-to-normal flow of our goods,” he said.

He added that other sectors, construction, for example, are manifesting signs of returning to normal.

“We are seeing construction, restarting both construction of several establishments and some public construction, but although at an adjusted scale. But definitely these are indications that, indeed, we are transitioning back, although under a new normal,” he said.

The official said the island would remain resilient despite the crisis because it managed to perform reasonably despite several challenges, from armed conflicts particularly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the power crisis that resulted in four to 12 hours of rotating brownouts across many areas a few years ago. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)