Mindanao’s power demand rises  due to resurgence of economic activities

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 July) — The demand for electricity in Mindanao has significantly increased in the first semester of this year, driven by the “resurgence of economic activities” on the island, an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.

During his presentation on “Mindanao Economic Situationer” via Zoom on Wednesday, Romeo Montenegro, assistant secretary of MinDA, said Mindanao noted an uptick in electricity consumption, bringing the current power demand back to a level prior to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mindanao map courtesy of Google Maps

He said Mindanao’s current daily consumption averages from 1,800 to 1,900 megawatts (MW) amid the pandemic compared with 1,300 to 1,400 MW beginning May last year. Prior to the pandemic, Montenegro said daily power consumption was averaging between 1,700 MW and 1,800 MW.

Mindanao has 27 provinces and 33 cities across six regions.

Montenegro said the reduction in power demand in Mindanao was blamed on the imposition of stricter quarantine measures such as lockdowns in major urban areas of the island, forcing heavy load users such as major industries and other commercial establishments to either suspend operations or operate at reduced capacity.

“We still have our malls operating at reduced capacity. We have big hotels in Davao not in operation yet we still are able to demonstrate high demand of electricity, indicating resurgence of economic activities considering that apart from household consumption, utilizing our energy resources are commercial establishments and industries here in Mindanao,” Montenegro added.

The increasing demand for power is an “encouraging indication” of economic activities, he said.

“The emergence and resurgence of economic activities in certain businesses and establishments, especially those that are able to relate to the demands of time, especially those into food business or businesses that are very much still operational even with the current quarantine measures put in place,” he said.

He said major companies have resumed business operations at adjusted levels, jacking up the need for electricity.

The load profile of Mindanao comprises 60% household and 40% commercial establishments, according to Montenegro.

He said household consumption of electricity has also increased as operations of some establishments shifted to work from home, necessitating additional household equipment that demand more usage of power.

Despite the pandemic, he said other small establishments are thriving and expanding their operations “to deal with the demand brought about by the realities of pandemic because they are producing goods or services that are needed during this period.”

“They have to expand capacities to be able to deal with demand and therefore have to make use of energy consumption and that is also likely among the contributory factors for us reverting back to pre-COVID level. An uptick indicates something is happening because every product, every output, and every service that is being produced will have to take into account that it is using electricity,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)