WATER levels at Binga dam in Itogon, Benguet are at a risky 562 meters above sea level, or a few meters before its critical level, said SN Aboitiz Power Benguet (SNAPB).

SNAPB, which operates three dams in the province, said water levels are expected to rise by at least three meters soon.

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The dry spell has forced SNAPB to operate Binga dam only during peak demand hours and only at three hours a day at the most.

The non-operational Ambuklao dam has water level of 740 meters.

“Steady naman ang inflow ng tubig between seven to 20 cubic centimeters,” said Mike Hosillos, SNAPB vice president for corporate services.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather forecaster Danny Galaty remains doubtful for prospects of rain, as expected showers have been sidetracked by the weakening of a cold front in the region.

SNAPB turbines cannot work on a 560-meter elevation.

Hosillos explained the company has been ready to meet the dry spell head on. “We really knew that this will happen.”

Hosillos said the Agno River during the summer is expected to have reduced water levels. “Even if there was no El Niño, ganyan talaga yan.”

As of Tuesday, electricity generated by the Binga dam is at 30 to 35 megawatts, which according to SNAPB is normal during the dry season.

“We have steady operations despite the dry spell,” Hosillos said.

The 100-megawatt Binga Dam maximum elevation is at 575 meters and can generate 100 megawatts of power. In this dry spell, only a maximum of 50 megawatts of power is produced. (Maria Elena Catajan)