Higher power costs loom in Mindanao
DIGOS CITY—A large number of power consumers in Mindanao will be shelling out P1.45 more per kilowatt hour as most power cooperatives announced their impending use of modular generator sets in response to the power outages, which last up to eight hours in several areas in the island.
Four of these power cooperatives are in the Davao region and central Mindanao.
Irma Exconde, assistant director for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, said only a few cooperatives—including the ones serving Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and South Cotabato—have shown interest to acquire the modular generator sets but the government expects others to follow suit, as the Mindanao power crisis is expected to worsen with increasing demand and insufficient generation.
The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ (NGCP) recent power outlook had put the Mindanao grid’s system capacity at 977 megawatts while the peak demand is at 1,132 megawatts.
Exconde said the power cooperatives will be provided funding assistance when they participate in the bidding process for the generating sets.
The National Electrification Administration, she said, takes care of the trust fund for the financing of the generating sets.
“These generating sets will be made available within the year,” she said.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla earlier announced the government would allocate P4.4 billion for the acquisition of modular generators by power co-ops.
Godofredo Guya, Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Dasureco) general manager, said the acquisition cost of the generating sets would not take a heavy toll on the power utility’s finances.
He said Dasureco would be spending only P13.25 per kilowatt hour per generating set, which will be able to produce 15 megawatts each.
However, Guya said consumers—in the case of Dasureco—would have to shell out P1.45 more per kilowatt hour to enable the cooperative to defray the generators’ cost.
“For example, if they are paying P100 per month, it will soon become P114.50,” he said.
Guya said asking consumers to pay more is Dasureco’s last option but, without the generating sets, consumers would have to suffer up to three hours of daily power interruption.
He said Dasureco wanted to lower the added cost but it could not go below 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 is among the power co-ops to win the bidding process and it will be given 12 modular generating sets.
“The contract signing with the supplier will be done soon. Dasureco is 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 put into action.
Santiago Tudio, manager of the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative I (Socoteco, which serves Koronadal City, eight municipalities in South Cotabato and another one in Sultan Kudarat province) said the government’s offer is an opportunity for power co-ops to serve their consumers well amid the power outages imposed by the NGCP.
Tudio said the timing of the government’s financial aid for the modular generating sets is also good because by August, Socoteco’s power allocation is expected to be further reduced by 10 megawatts.
Socoteco has a 34-megawatt daily supply power contract with the National Power Corp. but since the power crisis started, it has since 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. Allan Nawal and Orlando Dinoy, Inquirer Mindanao