MINDANAO's power crisis has continued to worsen as Davao Light and Power Corporation (DLPC) imposed a two-hour rotating brownout starting Thursday from what used to be a one hour outage.

The rest of Mindanao also experienced prolonged brownouts of up to 10 hours after the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) imposed load curtailment on power companies and cooperatives.

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Rotating power outages are implemented through feeders in a given substation within the franchise area of DLPC.

Davao Light corporate communications officer Ross Luga said the increase in the duration of the outages is due to the much reduced generation capacity of the hydro electric plants in Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur and Pulangi River in Bukidnon as advised by the (NGCP).

The condition of the major power sources has forced the NGCP to increase its load curtailment to Davao Light.

Water level in Lake Lanao, the primary source of hydro electric power in Mindanao, has gone down below the 699.08-meter critical level as of March 1, 2010.

Once the water level breaches the critical level, National Power Corporation’s (Napocor) six hydro power plants -- the Agus Hydro Power Plants -- will be shut down.

As of 9 a.m. Thursday, NGCP already imposed a 120-megawatt (MW) power load curtailment on Davao Light's franchise area. Luga added that Davao Light's standby generating plant in Bajada, which was producing a maximum of 40 megawatt of power until last week, has reduced its power generation to 30 megawatt.

The power reduction was after three units of its engines have to undergo emergency preventive maintenance.

According to Luga, with the increase in the load curtailment by the NGCP and the reduced power back-up from the standby plant, the only option remaining is to stretch the duration of the rotating power outages.

Luga added that the company is coordinating with NGCP on a day-to-day basis to get the exact time of its de-loading and the level of its curtailment it will impose on Davao Light.

However, NGCP has advised that other than a time range, it cannot be determined because the transmission company's curtailment level varies at any given time of the day. Moreover, Luga said, Davao Light also has its own load variability relative to time of the day.(Carlo P. Mallo)