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Parts of Mindanao reeling from 2-hour power outages - Aboitiz exec means BUSINESS

MANILA – Parts of Mindanao suffer from power outages running for two hours because of insufficient generating capacity, according to an industry executive.

"We understand that in some places the brownouts because of that curtailment, it could run for two hours," said Manuel M. Orig, Aboitiz Power Corp. first vice president for Mindanao affairs.

Based on data from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the region's forecast demand from September 14-20 would average 1,208 megawatts, which is 36 megawatts more than the 1,172-megawatt generating capacity over the period.

The difference is well below the required reserve supply of about 250-megawatts to secure NGCP's services in the Mindanao grid and provide back up electricity should a power plant bog down or demand rise higher than the projections.

Orig said Mindanao suffered a 300-megawatt deficiency after a fire at the Agus hydroelectric power complex of National Power Corp.

"On a normal situation [power curtailment] is 180 to 192 megawatts," he said.

To help increase Mindanao's power supply, companies like AP have lined up projects in the region.

"But as of now, we’re the only one who has started building already. The rest are talking about plans. As far as we know they have not started building yet," Orig said.

AP is putting up a 300-megawatt coal plant in Davao that is scheduled for completion by 2015. To fast track the project, company pushed through without a partner. "If we wait for partners, it might take time," Orig said. 

The Alcantara group also plans to construct a 120-megawatt coal plant in Sarangani by 2014, whle the consortium of Evonik Steag GmbH of Germany, AP and La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp. targets to expand their 232-megawatt coal plant in Misamis Oriental by another 200 megawatts by 2013.

Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. plans to put up a 100-megawatt mine-mouth coal plant in Zamboanga Sibugay by 2016.

Energy Undersecretary Josefina Patricia M. Asirit earlier said Mindanao, which relies heavily on intermittent generation from hydroelectric power facilities, is in need of coal plants because they can be run more consistently.

"We need baseload plants na maaasahan 24/7 and are not affected by climate," she said.