Coal plant no quick fix for Davao City’s power woes
DAVAO CITY—The new coal plant near here proved to be no quick fix to the lack of electricity that is plaguing this city and other places in Mindanao.
The city is again suffering from three-to-four hour brownouts daily blamed on two factors—the drought that is commonly associated with the El Niño phenomenon and maintenance work on a unit of a coal plant that had become one of the city’s main sources of power.
“The power shortage is really beyond our control,” said Ross Luga, assistant vice president for reputation enhancement of the Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC), the city’s main supplier of power.
“But we’re doing our best to minimize, if not to avoid, implementing these service disruptions,” said Luga at a press forum here Monday, apologizing to customers for the inconvenience.
The drought that has reduced the capacity of hydroelectric power sources was compounded by maintenance work on a unit of a coal plant under the Therma South Inc. (TSI), which is owned by the Aboitizes.
According to Luga, DLPC had been informed that Unit 2 of its sister company, the Aboitiz-owned TSI coal-fired power plant, will have to undergo maintenance work until Jan. 23, removing 50 megawatts of electricity from the Mindanao grid.
The previous week, DLPC started implementing rotating brownouts lasting for about an hour after the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (Psalm)-National Power Corporation (Napocor) failed to deliver the amount of electricity it was contracted to supply.
Luga said the power supply delivered to DLPC reached only 233 MW, not enough to meet the 320 MW demand.
He said power demand in Davao City can reach as high as 340 MW in peak hours.
Engineer Zandbro Chad Ramos, DLPC systems operations manager, said DLPC officials still don’t know the extent of the damage that El Niño has brought.
“If it gets worse, our brownouts might be a lot longer,” he said.
Luga said DLPC would be forced to project power demand and supply by the hour starting in February. “That’s how volatile our power situation has become,” he said.
“If all the generating capacities are working normally and the demand is not too high, there would have been no problem,” Luga said. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao