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PIA Press Release

Low water level in Mindanao forces power firms to shut down more turbines

Butuan City (March 14) -- The National Power Corp. (NPC) has shut down some of the hydroelectric turbines of Agus plants in Lake Lanao and Pulangi 4 in Maramag, Bukidnon due to "very low and critical water level."

Pedro Ambos, officer-in-charge of operations and planning division of NPC, said the firm decided to turn off temporarily some of its turbines "to save water" and "avert damages."

Earlier, Engr. Noli Namocatcat, corporate manager of Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (ANECO), said a 2-centimeter daily decrease in water level in Lake Lanao might force the coop to shut down its turbines.

"At 2 centimeters water down a day, this Agus plants might forced to shutdown to protect its turbines from further damage," said Namocatcat.

ANECO general manager Horacio Santos said major industries had lost millions of pesos due to power curtailment.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), in its advisory Saturday, said the Lake Lanao water level had gone down further to 699.01 meters, which is already below the critical level of 699.15 meters.

The NGCP advisory also said that the generating power capacity to date was recorded at 650 megawatts (MW), against grid demand of 1,447 MW.

Lake Lanao is the source of Mindanao grid.

Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Laneco) manager Resnol Torres said the temporary shut down of some of the Agus plants' turbines had resulted in a further cut in the coop's power of around 40 MW.

The new load curtailment scheme was meant for four-hour daily brownouts in the coop's service area, he said.

In Cagayan de Oro, local power utility Cepalco said the public could expect longer rotating brownouts, even a total blackout if the power situation takes a turn for the worst.

Total blackouts have also been scheduled in some provinces in Central Mindanao.

The rotating brownout reaches from 8 to 12 hours in several areas in the southern island.

The other day, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo already declared a state of calamity in Mindanao due to severe power problem.

The declaration of a state of calamity would enable local government units (LGUs) to access calamity funds which could be used in mitigating the effects of power crisis. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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