Coal plant shutdown causes daily brownouts-A A +A
Friday, October 19, 2012
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- The shutdown of one of the biggest power plants in Mindanao caused power interruption in North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and other parts of the island, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announced Thursday.
Bambie Capulong, head of the communications department of the NGCP-Mindanao, said that STEAG Power Inc. (SPI) has shut down its coal-fired power plant based in Villanueva town in Misamis Oriental since October 6.
The shutdown will continue until October 24, the SPI earlier said.
The SPI cited as reason for the temporary shutdown the preventive maintenance being implemented for the plants' operational reliability.
Immediately after the SPI shut off one of its coal plants, the NGCP scheduled power rationing in Mindanao.
"Because of the shutdown, the power deficiency in Mindanao has reached from 150 megawatts (MW) up to 200 MW on a daily basis, depending on the generation and demand of the local power consumers," Capulong said.
Another coal plant, also owned by the SPI, will shut off its system from October 24 until first week of November, she stressed.
Both coal-fired plants, each with a capacity of 105 MW, provide about 20 percent of the current power capacity of the entire Mindanao.
The Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco), which supplies electricity to some 98,000 power consumers in North Cotabato, is one of those affected by the power rationing.
Vincent Baguio, spokesperson for Cotelco, said that their cooperative is again “short” of power supply so they schedule load curtailment, which lasts from 30 minutes to an hour daily.
Because of the shutdown of SPI's plant, Cotelco is short of at least four MW of power daily.
"For the month of October, the Cotelco has contracted some 20 megawatts of power from the NGCP. We had a contract with the Therma Marine Inc., of at least eight megawatts. Our total daily demand is about 32 megawatts so we're short of four megawatts," said Baguio.
When Pulangi-4 hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon province has shut off its system on April this year, the Cotelco has scheduled daily brownouts which lasted eight hours, which caught the ire of many power consumers.
This caused power consumers in Kidapawan City to organize themselves where they demanded, among other things, to supply Cotelco at least 25 percent of the capacity of the geothermal power plants from Mount Apo.
The plants are owned by the Energy Development Corporation of the Lopez Group of Companies.
The demand, however, fell on deaf ears, they said.
Rotational brownouts have also been experienced in Davao del Sur as part of the rotational load curtailment which will last until November.
According to the Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, they will implement a one-hour brownout as part of their contract with Therma Marine Inc. (TMI).
Danny Canastra, chief of the member services department, said that other provinces suffer up to six hours of brownouts.
"Ang generation deficiency nato sa Mindanao like karon 380 megawatts as per as NGCP memorandum unya ang atong Maria Cristina Falls nikunhod," Canastra said.
Aside from this, a preventive maintenance is also implemented by the Steag State Power Incorporated based in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental since October 6.
"Mao ni hinungdan sa diminishing power supply in Mindanao," Canastra said.
He said Dasureco received 17.9 MW on Thursday when the normal average consumption hits 32 MW.
The electric cooperative was forced to implement a one-hour brownout in the entire province.
Dasureco hopes the normal supply of power will return next month and in December since the El Niño phenomenon is set to bring rains which will bring water to the power plants.
Davao City has not been affected by brownouts due to its water sources like the Sibulan River in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur and stand-by power plants owned by the Aboitiz Group of Companies. (With Orlando B. Dinoy)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 19, 2012.