Mindanao power situation now precarious

PRECARIOUS, this is the present power situation in Mindanao following the decrease of island's hydro power plants' capacity to 16% due to El NiAo, frequent emergency shutdowns of most power plant assets, and the bombing incidents of transmission lines.

As this developed, the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) announced on Wednesday that the duration of the rotating power interruptions is projected to increase from last Tuesday's 30 minutes to 1 hour to 3 to 4 hours.

"As of Wednesday, we have around 73-MW deficiency during peak hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m), at 6:47 a.m. yesterday (Wednesday), we received an advice from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) that one of the units of the Therma South Inc.(TSI) 150-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Toril, Davao City went offline," Rossano C. Luga, DLPC's assistant vice president (AVP) for Reputation Enhancement Department said.

"This has resulted to an emergency power interruption in some areas within our franchise earlier as implemented by the NGCP," he added.

Of the 164 MW DLPC power contract with National Power Corporation (NPC), the distribution utility is currently receiving only 90 MW to 110, much lower than the city's present power demand at 340 MW.

In a phone interview with Wilfredo Rodolfo III, AboitizPower corporate communications manager, he explained that TSI unit two was cut from the Mindanao grid yesterday early morning, was immediately back and in sync with the grid in the afternoon and was tripped again by 5:45 p.m., Wendesday.

When asked about the reason of the short period offline of TSI unit two from the grid, he was quick to add that the company is still figuring out the reason of the situation.

"We will keep you updated with the plant's condition, at present we are still figuring out the cause of the problem," he said.

The two units of TSI, which were inaugurated by President Benigno Aquino III last January, have consistently bogged down.

The unit 2 was the same unit damaged during last year's Easter Sunday blackout.

The Unit 1 operating since September 2015 has implemented several preventive maintenance shutdowns (PMS).

Bombed anew

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) Tower #63 of Kabacan-Sultan Kudarat 138 kV line in Barangay Pagangan, Aleosan, Cotabato was bombed anew Tuesday (March 1) evening, the third bombing incident to the grid operator's facilities for this year.

In a press statement released by Melfrance "Bambi" Capulong, NGCP regional corporate communications officer for Mindanao, the company emphasized that "the bombings only serve to increase the burden of the public, which must suffer through service interruptions when towers are bombed."

"NGCP's Tower #63 was bombed again, fortunately, the tower did not topple. Restoration of tower 63 will commence as soon as the area is secured," she said in a text message released to media Wednesday morning.

She added that the tower was bombed for the second time, it was noted that tower #63 was also bombed last January 14.

According to Superintendent Bernard Tayong, speaking for North Cotabato police office, three improvised explosive devices were attached to three posts of NGCP tower 63 in Purok 4, Barangay Pagangan.

Chief Inspector Jun Napat, Aleosan town police chief, said two IEDs exploded at about 12:20 a.m., Wednesday, while another bomb did not.

At around 5 a.m., village officials found another live IED still attached to one of the posts.

Napat said the tower remained standing although two of its full legs were severed.

"We are securing it while bomb experts are trying to defuse the third bomb," Napat said.

About 16 steel towers have been bombed in North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Lanaodel Sur in 2015 that contributed to the power deficiency of the Mindanao grid.

Dried up hydro source

According to NGCP's website, as of 1 p.m., Wednesday, power reserve in Mindanao is at 175 MW.

With the onslaught of the El Nino phenomenon, power situation in Mindanao is significantly affected as the island is heavily dependent on the hydropower plants like the state-owned Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complexes.

At present, more than half of the island's power supply is sourced from hydropower plants.

As of Wednesday, APHC combined actual generating capacity is at 160 MW, some 822MW deficient as against its original 982MW combined generating capacity.

APHC is composed of Agus 1, Agus 2, Agus 4, Agus 5, Agus 6, Agus 7, and Pulangi 4 hydro power plants.

"Our power supply, at present, is still very low with the derated capacity coming from Agus and Pulangi," Romeo Montenegro, director for Investments Promotions and Public Affairs of Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) said.

Source: Sun Star

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