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PIA Press Release
2010/02/15

Power cuts in Mindanao worsen due to critical water level

Butuan City (February 15) -- The power outages in Mindanao worsened due to the critical water level in the Lake Lanao and Pulangi river, source of the Mindanao grid.

It was also learned that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Monday forced hydroelectric power plants located at various areas in the southern island in Mindanao to reduce their power generation by at least 50 percent of their total capacity due to low water inflow of Lake Lanao and Pulangi River because of the onset of the dry spell.

In a statement on Monday, the NGCP said the generating capacity is anticipated to remain insufficient with the unavailability of Agus 5 (Units 1 & 2), the Mindanao Coal Fired Power Plant (Unit 2) and the Iligan Diesel Power Plant.

It was also gathered that the Western Mindanao Power Corporation's power plant in Zamboanga City also decreased its output from 90 to 80 megawatts as of February 9, this year.

This pushed the NGCP, as system operator, to implement power load shedding throughout Mindanao. It will be enforced for the whole month of February as it projects that power supply will remain below comfortable levels.

Eugene Bicar, head of NGCP Mindanao-Systems Operations (SO), urged the execution of some measures to address the situation in the short term, like the completion of the Agus 5 Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) preventive maintenance and trash rack repair; resumption of the operation of Iligan Diesel Power Plant (IDPP) to be expedited by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) and the National Power Corporation and the contracting of additional power generation if there's one available from embedded generations.

The NGCP Mindanao head also said the completion of the repair of the Agus 2 - Kibawe 138 KV Lines 1 and 2 and the commissioning of Maramag - Bunawan 230 KV backbone project will also help strengthen the network interconnection of the Mindanao Grid.

NGCP had earlier informed electric cooperatives and consumers that starting February 3, they would request power distributors to begin additional load-shedding at 10 a.m. instead of past 5 p.m. as compared to January, owing to further decrease in the generating capacity due to water inflow constraints.

Three curtailment levels are currently set, first for 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; second for 12:31-5:30 p.m. and third for 5:31 to 9 or 10 p.m. The levels increase to correspond with the continuous upward trend of the grid load between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Curtailment is automatically lifted as actual system condition improves.

Power distributors each have their assigned load allocation to maintain for each time bracket under the curtailment plan.

NGCP closely monitors the load of each distributor through the SCADA equipment of Area Control Centers (ACC) located in the cities of Butuan, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos.

The head of NGCP Mindanao added that the cooperation of the distributors is vital to NGCP's efforts at maintaining the balance of the Mindanao power grid, especially during red alert state. The grid operator is bound by provisions of the Philippine Grid Code.

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes is set to visit on February 17-18 key cities in Mindanao to personally assess the worsening power crisis in the southern island where businesses have been badly affected since last month. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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