ILIGAN CITY ,Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) said it would lower the power reserve in the Mindanao grid after some 20 congressmen appealed for shorter power outages in some parts of the island.
Iligan Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr., vice chairman of the House committee on power, said the DOE agreed during a special meeting attended by representatives of the National Power Corp., National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management, Energy Regulatory Commission and some non-government organizations last Tuesday to reduce the power reserve margin from 250 megawatts to 100 MW and allow Mindanao power utilities to use 150 MW.
Consumers had complained that the NGCP had imposed two-and-a-half-hour rotating power outages every day in some parts of Mindanao last month.
The NGCP claimed it has to cut power since the available energy is only 1,149 MW while the peak demand as of March 13 was 1,300 MW.
Belmonte said that since Iligan City is host to Agus 5, 6 and 7 hydroelectric power plants, it should at least be given the privilege to reduce power curtailment hours.
He said the same privilege should be accorded to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, adding that the move was supported by the DOE and NGCP.
Meanwhile, the Iligan City government in coordination with local power utility Iligan Light and Power Inc. are discussing with industrial plants here to assign its unused power allocation.
However, Belmonte said these measures would lessen the duration of power outages only for a short term. He stressed the need to rehabilitate the Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants and operate the Iligan diesel power plant as long-term solutions to the power crisis.
Presidential Assistant for Mindanao Luwalhati Antonino said the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) would convene key power industry players and stakeholders to address issues on rotating blackouts affecting several areas in the south.
“We are confronted with this problem in Mindanao on a recurring fashion and it’s time we deal with this quickly and decisively,” Antonino said.
“MinDA is currently putting together a position paper and consolidating the inputs from rounds of stakeholder consultations, including Mindanao lawmakers, so that all of us are on same page on this issue,” she said.
During the House committee on energy, Antonino had inquired on the status of dredging projects that were seen to improve the generating capacity of hydropower plants. – With Edith Regalado - By Lino De La Cruz