Mindanao’s electricity woes worsen as power barge breaks down
KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines—The power problem in Mindanao getting worse.
Therma Marine Inc. confirmed Friday that one of two generators on its Mobile 1 power barge that is moored in Maco, Compostela Valley has broken down and has had to be shut down for repairs.
TMI chief operating officer Jovy Batiquin said the generator had been running for 72 hours straight when it developed technical problems on March 18 and had to be shut down indefinitely for repairs to prevent further damage.
“We have four engines in all, combining for a total of 200 MW of installed capacity on board two power barges,” Batiquin said, explaining that each barge has two generators.
The other Therma Marine barge is moored in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
TMI apologized for the inconvenience caused by the breakdown.
“We are now assessing the situation and the repairs needed so we can come up with a timetable and we will accordingly inform all the electric cooperatives and distribution utilities of developments as soon as the information is determined,” Batiquin added.
TMI provides power to 23 distribution utilities and electric cooperatives to complement the supply coming from the National Power Corp. The reduction in capacity deliveries of TMI will be shared pro-rata by all electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in Mindanao under contract with Therma Marine.
The power demand in Mindanao peaks at 1,484 megawatts, but existing power plants can supply only 1,181 megawatts, resulting in a deficit of 300 megawatts, which explains the rotating brownouts in areas that do not have embedded power generation capacity.
The situation is complicated by the “conservation” efforts of the NPC to control the release of water from Lake Lanao and save water and power for the coming elections.
Despite the reduction in TMI supply, Davao City and areas under the Davao Light and Power Co. are not experiencing any brownouts because of power supplied by the Hedcor Sibulan hydro power plant and the Bajada power plant.
TMI’s supplies for Kidapawan City will be reduced from 8MW to 6MW.
Meanwhile, senatorial candidate Miguel Zubiri blamed the government for the slow entry of investments for renewable energy in Mindanao.
“There are no investments for new sources of energy because they are holding (up) these projects,” Zubiri said on Wednesday. He said the Department of Energy has not acted on a number of applications for renewable energy projects.
Zubiri was in Davao City Wednesday to join Team UNA’s political rally.
He said Mindanao needed new sources of energy due to its speedy urbanization and economic development.
He also said that the power supply in Mindanao could have been augmented if the government had rehabilitated the Agus-Pulangi hydro power plants.
“But right now government has taken for granted the rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi,” Zubiri said, adding that government instead plans to privatize it.
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