Mindanao power outages confirmed

Published by rudy Date posted on September 15, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – With still unresolved power problem in Visayas, Mindanao is now suffering from rotating brownouts.

Government officials yesterday confirmed reports of scheduled power outages in major portions of Mindanao after several power plants in the area are currently on a “shutdown mode.”

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said they are now looking into the situation and is asking the National Power Corp. (Napocor) and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to submit their respective reports on the matter.

“We are checking reports on the power situation in Mindanao. Initial reports said that there are some power plants that are undergoing maintenance,” he said.

Reyes, thus, urged more investors to pour in much-needed capital to put up new power facilities in Mindanao.

“We are encouraging more investments from the private sector,” he said, when asked what he would suggest as long-term solution to this power problem. It needs about three to five years to construct a new power facility.

In a statement, Napocor said that four of its power generation facilities and two independent power producers (IPPs), have been temporarily shut down due to a variety of reasons.

Napocor said the reasons for the decrease in capacity were due to the tripping of Agus 1 (Unit 2) last Aug. 10, and shutdown of the 100-MW Western Mindanao Power Corp. (WMPC), coupled with the scheduled preventive maintenance operations of Agus 2 (Unit 1), Agus 5 (Unit 1), Pulangi 4 (Unit 1) and Mindanao (STEAG) Coal (Unit 1).

Overall, more than 400 MW out of a total of 620 MW dependable capacity were affected.

Deficient capacity

Napocor admitted that the shutdown resulted in deficient capacity to meet the Mindanao Grid’s electricity demand.

“Rotating brownouts have to be implemented during peak hours. Power supply is normal during off-peak hours,” Napocor said.

The state-owned power generation company said that it is requesting the indulgence of its customers and the electricity consumers, and their patience, as it is doing its best to mitigate the effects of the temporary shutdown of its plant facilities.

“We apologize and request the patience of our customers and the electricity consuming public. Your Napocor is doing all that it can to bring power supply back to normal, and we are optimistic to make it happen soon,” it said.

Napocor furthered that the ongoing scheduled preventive maintenance operations will, in the long-run, assure a more reliable and stable power supply for the grid.

Also, the WMPC has already put on line two 10-MW units out of 10 units. It is likewise undertaking round-the-clock operations to put back its normal dependable capacity on-line in the soonest possible time.

“Our people are working round the clock, and continuously coordinating with the proper agencies such as the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, and our customers involved in power distribution for updates on the power supply situation. Hopefully, we will already have a normal power situation by Sept. 26,” Napocor said.

Power demand in Mindanao will continue to grow despite the crisis, according to the Department of Energy.

Data from the DOE showed that this year would already be critical for the Mindanao grid with peak demand reaching 1,525 megawatts excluding the additional capacity requirement of 100 MW.

Demand for additional power supply in Mindanao is expected to increase over the next three years.

It was noted that reserve capacity in Mindanao will fall to 7.5 per cent or 84 MW short of its 212 (MW) requirement in 2010. –Donnabelle Gatdula (The Philippine Star)

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