Mindanao power crisis may worsen next month—NapocorBy Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—State-run National Power Corp. on Monday warned that the continued decrease of the water level at Lake Lanao would force it to limit the power generation from the 700-megawatt Agus power complex starting next month.
This move is expected to further worsen the rotating brownouts being felt in the island, given the prevailing shortfall in power supply. As of Monday, the Mindanao grid posted a power supply deficit of 121 MW.
In a statement, Napocor explained that based on estimates, the water elevation at Lake Lanao is expected to go down to the critical level of 699.15 meters above sea level by May, assuming that there will be no improvements in the inflow of water to the lake.
At this elevation, Napocor is required under its operating protocol to start curtailing its operations, resulting to limited electric power generation from the Agus hydro plants. The power firm is likewise mandated to ensure that the lake’s elevation must not also go below 698.15 masl. Otherwise, Napocor has no choice but to shut down the operations of the Agus hydropower plants altogether,
This is highly critical considering that the Agus power complex, together with the Pulangi power facility, provides 53 percent of the electricity requirements of Mindanao.
“Thus, in order to ensure that Napocor will be able to safely maintain Lake Lanao elevation within reasonable level for the May 13, 2013 elections and ensure sufficient power generation during the election period, Napocor will start conserving Lanao Lake water by strictly supplying power to the extent of its contracted capacity with its customers of 924 MW for the months of April and May 2013,” the government firm explained.
As of now, Napocor assured that it can still supply the electricity requirements under its existing power supply contracts with Mindanao customers, amid concerns regarding the decreasing water levels at Lake Lanao.
Napocor said its power plants and its contracted capacities from independent power producers, can generate 1,071 MW during peak hours, which would be adequate to meet its contractual obligations pegged at 924 MW.