DAVAO – Power generation deficiency caused the series of blackouts and interruptions in some provinces in Mindanao, officials said.
Since Monday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has reduced the supply of power in the General Santos Area Control Center (GSACC) or the Southwestern Mindanao District by 32 megawatts daily, said Felix Canja, executive assistant to the general manager of the Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco).
Cotelco is one of the biggest power cooperatives in Central Mindanao.
Canja said at least 14 feeders or transmission lines that feed power for an electricity substation in at least nine towns in North Cotabato are affected by the power load reduction.
The district's load curtailment has increased by more than 100 percent since November last year, said Canja.
Daily, the load curtailment from 11 a.m. up to 12 noon totaled to 12 megawatts; 24 megawatts from 1:30 up to 2 p.m.; and from 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., 32 megawatts.
In a statement issued to Cotelco, the NGCP said the load curtailment is due to generation insufficiency that is brought about by non-availability of generating units, power plant shutdown, and plants undergoing preventive maintenance.
These have reduced the capacity of the supply network going to General Santos City and other parts of southwest Mindanao.
Canja was told that the Mindanao power grid is already on a “red alert status.” The water elevation of the two major sources of hydroelectric power in Mindanao - Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur and Pulangi River in Bukidnon, is already on a "critical level" due to drought caused by the El Nino phenomenon.
Canja said the shutdown of the Unit 2 of the Agus hydroelectric power plant in Iligan City and the second unit of the Mindanao coal-fired power plant, which produces 110 megawatts contributed to the power deficiency.
The outage of the Unit 5 of the Agus hydroelectric power plant, also in Lanao del Sur, has been reduced by 28 megawatts. The capacity of the Unit 1 of the Agus was also reduced from 80 megawatts to 30 megawatts.
As a result, the NGCP's Southwest Mindanao district is given 30 megawatts less its usual power supply.
"On our end, as a power distributor in North Cotabato, we have to comply with NGCP's directive, or else, the whole system would be affected," Canja said.
The GSACC or the sixth district of the NGCP is comprised of at least five provinces in southwest Mindanao, including General Santos in South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat.
Experiencing the same problem is the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco). Zamcelco General Manager Reinerio Ramos said generation deficiency or generation constraints also caused the power shortage in the Zamboanga Area Control Center.
Ramos also include the reduced capability of some of the National Power Corporation’s (Napocor) vintage hydro electric plants and the critical loading of transmission lines as other reasons for the depleted power supply.
This has also affected other power cooperatives in Central Mindanao, including the South Cotabato Elective Cooperative 1 and 2, Maguindanao Electric Cooperative (Magelco), Cotelco-Palma, Cotelco-Main, and Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative (Sukelco).
Some parts of Visayas island also experienced the same problem.
Rotation brownouts continued to hit Metro Cebu Friday, the fifth day the Visayas suffered a 200-megawatt (mw) shortfall in power supply since the 120-megawatt (mw) Leyte Geothermal Power Plant began undergoing preventive maintenance.
“Since 9 a.m. yesterday (Friday), most of our franchises were struck by the temporary rotational brownouts,” said Visayan Electric Co.’s Corporate Communications officer Ethel Natera.
The NGCP announced a 140-mw shortage in the morning peak, a 160-mw shortage in the afternoon peak and 200-mw shortage in the evening peak. (Malu Manar/Bong Garcia/ Sunnex)