Longer brownouts in major southern cities as grid deficit widens


Posted on April 07, 2016 07:57:00 PM

By Carmelito Q. Francisco, Correspondent

DAVAO CITY -- The shortfall on the Mindanao power grid has again widened after one of the two 150-megawatt (MW) coal-fired plants of Therma South Inc. (TSI) was shut down following a tripping of the transmission line in Toril, Davao City on Wednesday afternoon.

As of Thursday morning, the Mindanao grid had a supply deficiency of 102 MW with a system capacity of 1,321 MW, based on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ data.

The TSI plant’s temporary closure compounded the already precarious situation of the grid due to the reduced capacity of the government-run Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur.

Rossano C. Luga, assistant vice-president at the Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC), said the franchise area of the company will experience “a maximum of four hours” of rotational brownouts.

He added that there is no definite date as to when the situation will go back to “normal”, which was already at one- to two-hour power interruptions in the last two weeks.

Aside from Davao City, DLPC also serves Panabo City and three towns in Davao del Norte.

The Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. in Cagayan de Oro also has 2.5-hour clusters of scheduled load shedding.

TSI said both its two plants were turned off when a 138-kilovolt transmission line in Toril, the line that the plants are using to deliver their power to the grid, tripped after a tree fell on it.

But when the transmission line was fixed, one of the TSI plants failed to start.

The Aboitiz Power Corp. subsidiary said it has started investigating the problem “to determine the cause of the inability to the get the unit running.”

Since the start of April, the two hydroelectric plants operated by the National Power Corp. have been at critical levels given the low water supply due to El Niño and aggravated by the poor condition of the old facilities.

The Agus hydroelectric plants, which have a combined capacity of 727 MW, can only deliver about 120 MW while the Pulangi plant, which has a capacity of 255 MW, can only produce a maximum of 60 MW.

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