8-hour power outages in Mindanao as coal power plant shuts down for maintenance

Subscribe Now August 04, 2013 at 04:18pm

Dozens of Mindanao areas – from Zamboanga City to the Agusan provinces – have experienced up to eight hours of daily power outages anew as the Mindanao grid continues to experience power supply deficiency.

As of Sunday, the Mindanao grid was short by up to 55 megawatts as supply remained constant at 1,151 megawatts while peak demand reached 1222 megawatts.

The power supply problem was brought about by the decision last month of the Steag Power in Misamis Oriental to shut down its 105-megawatt coal-fired power plant for maintenance until August 14.

In Zamboanga City for example, residents are furious over the twice-daily power outages that would run up to three hours each schedule.

In Ozamiz City, power outages have also been occurring twice everyday.

In North Cotabato, the 98,000 consumers of the Cotabato Electric Coop. (Cotelco) are luckier than those in other areas as their brownouts last only two hours daily.

Godofredo Homez, Cotelco manager, said their supply contract with the National Power Corp. (Napocor) was only reduced by about three megawatts.

Homez said the power problem would be over after August 14.

However, Steag has hinted that once this maintenance works are completed, another will be done from Sept. 21 to October 27, which would mean another series of power outages for Mindanao consumers.

Steag’s 210-megawatt coal fired plants in Misamis Oriental are Mindanao’s biggest in terms of capacity and account for a fifth or 20 percent of the island’s mixed supply. As of the end of June, its plants were delivering 9.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to the Mindanao grid.

Carsten Evers, Steag plant manager, said the maintenance works should be undertaken so that the plants could continue performing reliably.

According to the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), it is good that the maintenance works are being undertaken after the output of the hydropower systems in Lanao and Bukidnon has increased.

Had it been conducted in May, Mindanao might have been without power for days, Minda – Malacañang’s development arm in the south, said in a statement.

“In determining the timing of the maintenance, Steag always takes into consideration the anticipated electricity demand-supply condition of Mindanao during the period. The goal is to minimize the impact of any possible power supply shortfall in the island,” Evers said.

In Davao del Sur, the power outages did not discourage the Davao del Sur Electric Coop. (Dasureco) to go ahead with the planned energization of 50 neighborhoods, whose residents could only dream of electricity for the past 50 years even if a house, which is only a stone’s throw away from them had already been lit.

Godofredo Guya, Dasureco general manager, said they have worked on the P269-million project funded by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) under President Aquino’s energization program for just 7 days.

The energized neighborhoods – with about 150 households – were in the towns of Magsaysay, Matanao, Hagonoy, Malalag, Sulop, Padada, Sta. Cruz, Kiblawan and in Digos City.

Guya said Dasureco was looking forward to energizing 188 additional neighborhoods under the same program.

Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista said the government has been working on the electrification of more areas to ensure that all villages still without electricity would have regular power supply soon.

Source: inquirer.net



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