Mindanao folk to pay P1.45 more per kwh for electricity

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DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines—A large number of power consumers in Mindanao will have to shell out P1.45 more per kilowatt hour as a number of major power cooperatives have announced their impending use of modular generator sets in response to  frequent power outages, which last up to eight hours in some places.

Four of these power co-ops are in the Davao region and in Central Mindanao.

Irma Exconde, assistant director of  the Department of Energy’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, said only a few co-ops, including the ones serving Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and South Cotabato, have so far shown interest in acquiring modular generator sets.

But she said the government expects others to follow suit as the Mindanao power crisis is expected to worsen in light of with the increasing demand but insufficient installed generating capacity.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ recent power outlook put the Mindanao grid’s  capacity at 977 megawatts while the peak demand was at 1,132 megawatts.

Exconde said the power co-ops will be provided funding assistance if they decide to bid for the generating sets.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA), she said, takes care of the trust fund for financing the acquisition of generating sets.

“These generating sets will be made available within the year,” she said.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla earlier announced that the government would allocate P4.4 billion for the acquisition of modular generators by power co-ops.

Godofredo Guya, general manager of Dasureco, said the acquisition cost of the generating sets would not take a heavy toll on the power utility’s finances. For example, he said, Dasureco would be shelling out only P13.25 per kilowatt hour used from each generating set, which will be able to produce 15 megawatts each.

However, Guya said, consumers of electricity in Dasureco’s case  would have to pay P1.45 more per kilowatt hour as the co-op’s means of defraying the cost of acquisition.

“For example, if they are paying P100 per month, it will soon become P114.50,” he said.

Guya said asking consumers to pay more was the last option for Dasureco but without the generating sets, the co-op’s consumers would have to contend with up to three hours of daily power interruptions.

He said Dasureco wanted to lower the additional cost  but it could not go lower than P1.45 per kilowatt hour.

“The most important thing is that the province would be spared from the rotational brownouts as early as next month,” he said.

Guya said Dasureco was among the power co-ops that have won bids and it will be given 12 modular generating sets.

“The contract signing with the supplier will be done soon. Dasureco was among the first co-ops to provide solution to the energy crisis,” he said.

After the contract signing, which could take place as early as Monday, Guya said, it will take 45 days for the generating sets to be commissioned and start boosting the province’s power supply.

Santiago Tudio, manager of the South Cotabato Electric Coop. I, which serves Koronadal City, eight municipalities in South Cotabato and another one in Sultan Kudarat province,  said the government’s offer was an opportunity for power co-ops to serve their consumers well in the face of the power rationing imposed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

Tudio said the timing of the government’s financial aid for the acquisition of modular generating sets was also good because by August, Socoteco I’s power allocation was expected to be further reduced by 10 megawatts.

Socoteco I has a 34 megawatt daily supply power contract with the National Power Corp. but since the power crisis started, this has been reduced to 27 megawatts.

“Right now, our daily rotating brownouts only last about an hour but it might reach seven hours by August if we don’t acquire the modular generating sets,” he said.

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