Davao City hit by 3-to-4-hour rotating brownouts due to El Niño, power plant repairs
DAVAO CITY – Even with the newly inaugurated coal-fired power plant that will reduce Mindanao’s reliance on hydropower, this city is again experiencing three-to four-hour rotating brownouts because of the onset of the El Niño, and a seven-day corrective maintenance of one of the units of the Aboitiz-owned Therma South Inc. coal-fired power plant.
“The power shortage is really beyond our control,” said Ross Luga, assistant vice president for the Davao Light and Power Company’s (DLPC) reputation enhancement department.
“But we’re doing our best to minimize, if not to avoid, implementing these service disruptions,” Luga told a press forum here Monday, apologizing to customers for the inconvenience.
DLPC said the company was only recently informed that the unit 2 of its sister company, the Aboitiz-owned TSI coal-fired power plant, would have to undergo corrective maintenance for seven days starting January 23, reducing 150 megawatts of power from the Mindanao grid.
Luga said the DLPC has contracted a 100-MW power supply from TSI, 50 MW of which would be affected by the maintenance shutdown. The previous week, DLPC started implementing rotating brownouts, which lasted about an hour, after the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM)-National Power Corporation (NPC) failed to deliver its contracted supply in full.
Luga said the power supply delivered to the DLPC only reached 233 MW, against the 320 MW expected demand, hence, the shortage. He said the power demand in Davao City could reach as high as 340 MW at some peak hours.
According to Luga, the three-hour rotating brownouts will be implemented at peak hours, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., while an hour of brownout will be implemented during off-peak hours, from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“We still don’t know the extent of the effects of the El Niño,” said Engr. Zanbdro Chad Ramos, DLPC systems operations manager.
“If it gets worse, our brownouts might be a lot longer,” he said. “The cause of the current shortage is El Niño, but also the loss of 50-MW supply from TSI, but once we get back, hopefully, we will recover,” he added.
“Regarding our demand and supply scenario this coming February to April, we’re no longer looking at it monthly, but hourly, that’s how volatile our power supply situation has become,” Luga said.
“If all the generating capacities are working normally and the demand is not too high, there would have been no problem,” Luga said. “But we’re doing some contingency plans,” he added. SFM