The online news portal of TV5
GENERAL SANTOS CITY - The daily brownouts in General Santos City and in nearby South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces have stretched to four hours as of Thursday, as Mindanao's power deficit increased to 276 megawatts (MW) due to the ongoing rehabilitation of the National Power Corporation's (NPC) Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant in Bukidnon.
Engr. Joseph Yanga, South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) technical services supervisor, said his company was forced to extend the rotating brownouts in the area to four hours from the previous three hours and 15 minutes due to the additional power supply cuts imposed by the NPC and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
From its average contracted supply of 72 MW, he said the NPC further reduced the area’s allocation earlier this month to 54 MW or 51 MW short from its 105 MW peak requirement.
Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. augments the area’s requirement by 30 MW based on a supply contract earlier forged by Socoteco II.
"(But) for today, the NPC is only giving us 45 MW. That leaves us short by 30 MW so we really have no other choice but extend the rotating brownouts," Yanga told the Philippines News Agency.
Based on an advisory issued by Socoteco II’s institutional services department, it would implement the rotating brownouts in four phases from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. based on the distribution of its 44 feeder stations.
Socoteco II serves this city, the entire Sarangani province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.
NGCP imposed drastic load cuts since February due to the rising power supply shortage in Mindanao that reportedly stemmed from the dwindling capacity of the NPC’s hydroelectric plants in Bukinon and Lanao del Norte.
As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the NGCP said Mindanao’s system capacity only stands at 955 MW or 276 MW short from its peak demand of 1,231 MW.
The electric cooperative, which has been implementing two-hour daily rotating brownouts since last month, initially issued an advisory increasing the power curtailments to three hours and 15 minutes last Tuesday until the end of the month due to the scheduled shutdown of the Pulangi plant to undergo a month-long repair and rehabilitation.
Yanga said the electric cooperative has scrapped the previous advisory and will instead issue daily notices to its consumers due to the uncertainty of the NPC’s power generation capacity.
"The allocations from the NPC and NGCP presently changes on a daily basis and there were also unanticipated supply fluctuations happening from time to time within the Mindanao grid," he said.
He cited, as example, the cutoff from the Mindanao power grid of the 55-MW bunker-fired power station of the Southern Philippines Power Corp. (SPPC) based in Alabel, Sarangani that covers a portion of the NPC’s power supplies to the area.
Yanga said the co-op expect the area's power situation to stabilize toward the end of May when the rehabilitation of Pulangi IV will have been completed.
By then, he said the NPC committed to restore the area’s allocation to 72 MW and increase it further to 74 MW by July.