DAVAO CITY -- The duration of rotating power outages in this city might be stretched to more than two hours, with the Mindanao energy supply breaching anew the 650-megawatt gap Monday.

Based on the latest monitoring of Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC), the supply gap in Mindanao is at 650 megawatts (MW) after it steadied at 550 MW in the past couple of days.

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Curtailment for the franchise area of DLPC increased to 125 MW from 100 MW. The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), meantime, has increased its curtailment on the power utility by 25 MW.

The DLPC said that as of Monday, the rotational brownouts in Davao will still be at two hours per area, but this is subject to change if there are adjustments in NGCP curtailment, actual system demand, and Bajada Power Plant generation.

The Bajada Power Plant is running at full capacity, churning out 35 MW of power to augment the supply gap in the city.

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.

Luga said 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 outages.

The DLPC, said Luga, 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.

The power firm is also regularly sending other news and information to its customers through its website, Luga said.

The power outages in Davao and other areas in Mindanao started late last year with several hydropower plants shutting down due to dry spell brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

On Saturday, consumption of power in this city reportedly dropped by 13 MW after residences and offices switched off their lights for an hour as they participate in the Earth Hour celebration.

Davao Light vice president for engineering Rodger Velasco said the load at 8:30 p.m. Saturday was at 225 MW, but it dropped to 212 MW around 8:40 p.m.

The Earth Hour, which was done at 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., is an international event that involves hundreds of millions of people as a show of support for action against global warming.

It gathered Saturday the participation of thousands of cities in 121 countries, 34 more than the number of countries in 2009, reports said. (CPM/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)