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Mindanao power outlook: Frequent brownouts

OZAMIZ CITY—Apart from being the start of the work week, Mondays in many areas of Mindanao also signal the start of another episode of frequent brownouts.

A weekly outlook of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) from March 15-21 showed that power generation capacity is expected to fall short of demand by 207 megawatts today.

Generation capacity is projected to be only at 936 MW while system load is projected to peak at 1,143 MW.

From 207 MW, the generation deficiency expectedly climbs to 244 MW by Thursday.

For about a month now, two rounds of daily brownouts have hit the provinces of Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte, as well as Iligan City.

In Misamis Occidental, one brownout round lasts two to three hours, and five to six hours in Lanao del Norte.

But consumers in Lanao del Norte complained that Tubod town, where the provincial capitol and the local distribution company’s headquarters are located, does not suffer the same as other towns.

When the outages started in mid-February, the Misamis Occidental 2 Electric Cooperative Inc. said the outages are due to power supply deficiencies from the Agus and Pulangi hydroelectricity generation plants.

The Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Laneco) also said that the power supplied to it by the National Power Corp. (Napocor) for March is only 5.6 MW, even as it needs 13 MW, hence, a 7.4-MW deficiency.

A Laneco advisory further said that this situation is also being experienced by other electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in Mindanao.

The projected generation capacity today is 57 MW lower than the expected capacity a week ago. This is caused by a 47-MW drop in hydro capacity and 10MW in diesel-fed capacity.

For the rest of the week, available power generation capacity comes from a coal-fired plant at 200 MW, diesel-fired plants at 140 MW to 150 MW, geothermal at 95 MW, and hydro at 501 MW.

Last month, hydro plants contributed 525 MW to total available capacity.

The Agus and Pulangi power plants are operated by Napocor, which is managed by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.

The plants are up for sale to private investors.

The Agus plants have a combined capacity of 727.1 MW while the Pulangi plants have 255 MW, or a total of 982.1-MW hydropower generating capacity under Napocor control.

As of June 2012, these plants were running only at 74 percent of capacity, or producing only 730 MW of power.

The available hydro capacity for the week is 229 MW less than the 730 MW that was available nine months ago. Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao

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Tags: brownouts , Electricity , Energy , Mindanao , NGCP , Regions

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