ROTATING brownouts in Mindanao are expected to ease by June, when the Steag coal-fired plant which supplies 200 megawatts of power is back on stream, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday.
In an email message to The Manila Times, Coloma traced the power crisis in the region to a system disruption last February 27 at Steag, which normally turns out 200 megawatts of electricity.
Quoting Romeo Montenegro, director for investment and promotion and public affairs of the Mindanao Development Authority, Coloma said the problem was aggravated by the receding Lake Lanao and Pulangi River, “thereby limiting the capacities of Agus-Pulangi Complex to just 30-40 percent.”
The restoration of the Steag plant by June would significantly reduce the rotating brownouts in many areas in Mindanao, Coloma said.
Business and religious leaders in Mindanao are blaming the government for failing to address the power crisis in the region that they fear could worsen and lead to longer outages.
But drawing from Montenegro’s report, Coloma said there were measures taken by the Aquino government to address the Mindanao power situation as of May 10.
“The government fully understands the power situation in Mindanao and has exerted since 2012, both immediate and long-term measures address supply deficiency that resulted to rotational brownouts,” Montenegro said in his report.
Montenegro said “the extent of rotating brownouts in Mindanao vary per area, depending on the contracted capacity and embedded measures of Electric Cooperatives and Private Distribution Utilities.”
He said Executive Order No. 81 in 2012 created the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) to spearhead efforts to immediately reduce the brownouts. There are also long term planning and policy measures to address the power situation.
Montenegro said since its creation, the MPMC has been able to provide the venue for discussion among Mindanao power stakeholders, even among those with diverse standpoints on the power issue.
Among the measures:
Immediate rehabilitation and updating of Agus-Pulangi complex with the
allocation of P4.96 billion.
P1.72 billion has been allocated for ujprating Agus 1 and 2 by 30-40MW without flooding the communities in the Balo-i area.
P2.6 billion for improving Agus 6, Units 1 and 2 to increase generation output by 19MW and extend the plants’ economic life for another 30 years.
The entry of 300mw of Abotiz and 200mw of Alsons by next year will provide a breather to the grid supply and allow better scheduling of maintenance shutdown, Montenegro said.
JOEL M. SY EGCO