Rotational power outages could reach 4 hours: firm’s top official

POWER outages in the city might reach four hours as the Mindanao power situation has continued to suffer tight power supply, an official of Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) reported.

Arturo M. Milan, executive vice president and chief operating officer of DLPC, said the scheduled power interruption may become longer as the company, as of yesterday, was expected to lack 49.25 megawatts as new power generator Therma South Inc. (TSI) may opt to shut down the commissioning of its first 150-megawatt unit.

DLPC has contracted 100 MW from the 300-MW power project, which has been expanded to 645-MW. Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, a power distributor cannot buy more than a third of the production of its sister company.

“We will look into the implementation of the four-hour rotating power interruption,” Milan said.

He said the TSI, which has been suppling 60 MW to DLPC since the start of its synchronization with the grid in June, was scheduling a shutdown of the unit due to some technical problem as it has not been able to fully commission it due to the unstable power supply in the grid.

The power problem came about middle of this month when Steag State Power Inc. decided placed on preventive maintenance shutdown its 105-MW unit, half of its power production in its Misamis Orriental power complex. Also placed on maintenance shutdown was the 110-MW Mt. Apo geothermal power complex in North Cotabato.

The shutdown of the two plants, which are expected to resume operations middle of next month, contributed to the precarious Mindanao power situation as the main suppliers of Mindanao power, the two government-run hydropower complexes, have been on red alert due to the low water level in the lakes.

Another major problem of the Pulangi complex is the heavy siltation in the lake as the complex and the Agus complex provide half of Mindanao’s power requirements.

The grid, said Milan, can only supply DLPC with 163 MW out of its 279-MW contract.

As of yesterday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said in its power situation outlook that the Mindanao grid was short by 140 MW. The island’s system capacity was 1,173 MW while the system peak was 1,313 MW.

The DLPC, meanwhile, is addressing to cushion the impact on the island’s tight power supply situation. It tapped its embedded 33-MW Bajada diesel plant, 30-MW power barges of Therma Marine Inc. and 37-MW from the hydro plants of Hedcor Inc.

The power distributor can also pool in 38 MW from the implementation of interruptible load program, where companies use their own generating sets instead of getting from the grid.

“Davao Light apologizes to its customers for the inconvenience that these service disruptions may have caused them. It also encourages everyone to be prudent in the use of energy to help minimize the effects of the current power situation,” DLPC said in a statement.

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