THE city should brace for the dreaded rotating power outages that are expected to last for more than two months.
On Wednesday, parts of the city went dark for about three hours starting at 6:00 p.m. when the Cagayan de Oro Electric Power and Light Company, Inc. (Cepalco) has implemented the rotating power outage which the power utility's response to the power supply curtailment being carried out by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
The NGCP is a private corporation that maintains and operates the power transmission network of the country.
“The sudden implementation of the rotating brownouts in Cagayan de Oro City is unfortunately inevitable due to the increase in the demand and the decrease of supply. By noon time of April 23, we needed about 140 megawatts of electricity but unfortunately NGCP only allowed us to use about 70 megawatts,” said Marilyn Chavez, senior manager of Cepalco’s customer and community relations department.
Unlike most parts of Mindanao, Chavez explained the city was recently spared from the episodes of power outages due to the additional supply provided by independent power producers (IPP).
“Over the past few months, the city did not experience the rotating brownout scheme unlike other areas here in Mindanao due to the help of our IPP (Minergy). Unfortunately this time around with the increase of the industry’s demand and the lack of supply from NGCP we are forced to implement it. Right now our independent producers are only giving us around 42 megawatts of electrical supply; not enough to aid in our 70 MW deficit,” Chavez told this paper by phone Thursday afternoon.
She hopes that by July the insufficient power supply would be minimized with the help of IPPs.
“We got word that by July 4, one of the turbine engines of Steag will be operational, and hopefully this will bring around 100 MW of additional electricity to our consumers. We will also ask our large industries to help out by minimizing its electricity use. Last Wednesday the industries helped out in giving us about extra 8 megawatts,” she said.
Based on the Cepalco announcement and notice to its consumer, even with the planned brownout schedule, they are still not certain of its exact implementation.
“Cepalco however would like to caution customers that the actual switch off and switch on time may vary from the announced schedules depending on the actual load curtailment levels imposed by NGCP on Cepalco,” says part of the Cepalco notice.
In a second notice e-mailed by Cepalco to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Thursday afternoon, it reiterated that NGCP has the full control on when to turn off the power switch.
“Again, actual brownouts may or may not happen, depending on instructions from NGCP,” it said.
The second notice laid out the power interruption schedule that affects major parts of the city, which are grouped in clusters, from April 24 to 30.
As of press time, the NGCP management in Northern Mindanao, has yet to issue a statement regarding the power outage.