Aboitiz power barge in Mindanao bogs down means BUSINESS

MANILA - Electricity-starved Mindanao's power situation took another hit after a power plant run by Aboitiz Power Corp bogged down.

In a statement, Jovy P. Batiquin, Therma Marine Inc president, said one of the 50-megawatt generators of the company's 100-megawatt power barge moored in Maco, Compostela Valley developed technical problems as early as March 18, 2013.

As such, the facility had to be shut down indefinitely for repairs to prevent further damage to the unit. The generator had been running for 72 hours straight prior to the incident.

"We apologize for the inconvenience this unforeseen event may cause our customers. We are now assessing the situation and the repairs needed so we can come up with a timetable and we will accordingly inform all our customers--the electric cooperatives and distribution utilities--of developments as soon as the information is determined," Batiquin said.

"We will endeavor to keep the repair time of the unit at its minimum and hopefully minimize the inconvenience to everyone," the official added.

The oil-fired barge, traditionally designed for peaking, back up and anciliary services, has been operating for 24 hours for several weeks already due to the critical power situation in Mindanao.

TMI, a unit of AboitizPower, provides power to 23 distribution utilities and electric cooperatives to complement the supply coming from National Power Corp (Napocor), where more than 70 percent of the power in Mindanao comes from.

The reduction in capacity deliveries of TMI will be shared pro-rata by all electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in Mindanao under contract with the company.

Despite the reduction in TMI supply, Davao City and areas under Davao Light and Power Co., are not experiencing any brownouts because it is suppled by the Hedcor Sibulan hydro power plant and the Bajada power plant.

Data from the National Grid Corp of the Philippines, the country's grid operator, showed that Mindanao's power reserves are projected to become short by over 200 megawatts for the week.

The actual impact of the deficiency on Mindanao consumers, however, would depend on actual demand and availability of back-up power supply of their electric utilities.

Aside from supply deficit, TMI said the situation is complicated by the "conservation" efforts of Napocor to control the release of water from Lake Lanao in preparation for the coming elections.

Lake Lanao provides water to the Agus-Pulangi hydro power complex, which in turn supplies 55 percent of the power requirements of Mindanao.