Power outages expected in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - A number of towns and cities in Mindanao are expected to suffer power outages when one the of the largest coal-fired power plants in the island undergoes maintenance shutdown this weekend.

The shutdown will affect two electric generation units at a 210 MW coal plant operated by STEAG State Power Inc. in Misamis Oriental, the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MMPC) said on Thursday, October 4.

First a 105 MW unit will go offline from October 6 to November 4, and a second unit 105 MW will also be turned off from October 29 to November 10.

The MPMC has not yet identified the cities and towns that will suffer the power outages due to the first maintenance shutdown since the Misamis Oriental coal plant started its commercial operations in 2006.

In the past six years, the plant -- one of the largest and most modern in Mindanao -- has produced and supplied more than 20% of the power on the island with at least 8.3 billion kW/h of electricity.

Chronic power shortage in Mindanao

Mindanao has suffered for decades a persistent power shortage, and its current generation capacity of 1,045 MW is 187 MW short of the system load of 1,242 MW the island requires, according to MPMC data.

The committee said that the government is planning to utilize imbedded generators and the 100 MW diesel power plant in Iligan as an immediate solution to possible outages in the next weeks.

Officials are hopeful they will be able to increase generation capacity when several coal-fired power plants start operating in 2014-2015 and more mini-hydro power plants are built.

The MPMC -- which includes 8 national and regional electrical power and development bodies led by the Department of Energy -- was formed in July 2012 by Executive Order 81.

Its mandate is to improve the power industry in Mindanao by coordinating the efforts of the national and local government with stakeholders in the power industry. - Rappler.com