Davao, GenSan blackouts loom, power rate to hike

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COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: The cities of Davao and General Santos are facing total power outages in the coming days with the Mindanao grid reportedly on the verge of collapse as the repair of transmission towers remains a problem for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

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Additionally, the Department of Energy (DOE) has warned that electricity rates in Mindanao may go up because of the recent bombings of power facilities.

The NGCP since Wednesday it has placed the Mindanao grid on “red alert” status after its power contingency reserves hit zero megawatts.

As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, the NGCP’s power outlook showed that the Mindanao grid has a system capacity of 1,505 kW and a system peak of 1,427 kW.

Melfrance Capulong, NGCP-Southern Mindanao spokesperson, said Mindanao is facing a possible grid collapse if the situation does not improve since only one line remains that can deliver power from the Agus Hydro Complex, the Maramag-Bunawan 138-kV line.

If the said line is compromised, no power will flow from the Agus hydro facilities to south of Mindanao, where the bulk of power demand is crucial, which would create an imbalance between the north and south portions that could cause the system to collapse.

“Both Davao City and General Santos City are located in the south, and are in real danger of being completely cut off from the bulk supply coming from the hydro facilities,” she said.

The Agus 1 and 2 hydro power facilities are connected to the Mindanao grid through the Agus 2-Kibawe 138kV line.

The NGCP has yet to restore the bombed NGCP Tower No. 25 along the Agus 2- Kibawe 138kV line in Ramain, Lanao del Sur, which was toppled on Christmas eve by unidentified men.

However, owners of the property where the tower is located – Johnny, Intan and Naguib all surnamed Sambitori – are blocking NGCP technical men from conducting repairs on the toppled transmission tower.

The Sambitoris alleged that the government had failed to pay their right-of-way claims over the facility site.

Power rate increase
Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada, meanwhile, warned that electricity rates in Mindanao may increase due to the damaged facilities, which may eventually form part of the transmission recovery costs.

Monsada, however, said any adjustment in recovery costs is subject to the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

She urged the public to be vigilant by reporting suspicious activities in critical areas and called on local government units (LGUs) to help secure power facilities in Mindanao.

Given the heightened insurgency concerns affecting stable and reliable electricity in Mindanao, the DOE strongly called on the assistance of all stakeholders, especially the LGUs to ensure the safety and security of vital power infrastructures in their respective jurisdictions.

WITH RITCHIE HORARIO, REPORTER

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