Sufficient power supply in Mindanao assured in May 2022 polls but…

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 July) — Mindanao will have an estimated surplus of around 800 to 1,000 megawatts (MW) next summer, enough to ensure a smooth conduct of the automated polls in May 2022, Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.

Montenegro said at the online “Mindanao Economic Situationer” on Wednesday,  that Mindanao will have more than enough supply of electricity even if the current consumption would increase.

A voter checks his list of candidates’ numbers at a campaign poster area in front of voting precincts at the Dadiangas North Elementary School in General Santos City during the May 13, 2019 midterm elections. Authorities predicted a high voter turnout in the tuna capital. MindaNews Photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO

“In terms of supply, even if it’s in the middle of summertime next year – May next year – at the rate of our excess to date ranging between 800 and 1000 MW, assuming there is again demand uptick of around 100 MW, we still have 700 MW, excess capacity by next year,” he said.

According to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Mindanao can supply as much as 2,989 MW but the present demand of consumers is only  1,940 MW, leaving an excess of 1,049 MW.

But Montenegro admitted it remains uncertain whether power interruptions can be totally avoided in some parts of the island that are being serviced by  electric cooperatives.

He said some of these electric cooperatives continue to suffer from financial woes that restrict them from delivering an uninterrupted 24/7 supply of electricity to consumers.

“Whether or not there are power interruptions in specific locations, again it depends on electric cooperatives in those areas. Our reality in Mindanao is that our power electricity is being provided, delivered by more than 30 electric cooperatives, including those in the island provinces – electric cooperatives that are on varying scales and capacities and financial capabilities – some are financially able and stable and some are still dealing with debts and financial obligations,” he said.

He added some areas are also beset with issues on transmission lines caused by trees planted or structures deliberately constructed along the power line corridor.

“While there is a law criminalizing the planting of trees or putting structures at transmission assets one way or another affecting the integrity of those assets and affecting delivery of electric services, we still see this happening in some areas of Mindanao especially in the forested areas where our major transmission backbones are traversing,” he said.

He said “trip offs” in major transmission backbone will affect certain areas of Mindanao.

Republic Act 11361, also known as “Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act,” declares unlawful the planting or causing to be planted of tall growing plants, including plants of whatever kind, variety, or height within the power line corridor; constructing or erecting any hazardous improvements within the power line corridor; and conducting or performing any hazardous improvements within the power line corridor. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)