Sarangani town wants more power

Edwin Espejo
Alabel town in Sarangani province is asking the energy department for more supply of power

SARANGANI, Mindanao – The municipal council of Alabel has asked the Department of Energy (DoE) to order the National Power Corp (Napocor) and the National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP) to give it priority in the dispatch of the electricity generated by the 55-megawatt Southern Philippine Power Corporation (SPPC) amid continuing power supply load curtailment being implemented by South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II).

The Alcantara-built and operated bunker-fired SPPC is located in Baluntay village in Alabel, Sarangani.

SPPC went on commercial stream in 1998 under the build-operate-own (BOO) scheme, but all power supply it is generating is already contracted to Napocor.  Its supply contract with Napocor will end in 2016.

In a resolution unanimously approved by the Sangguniang Bayan (municipal council), the local legislative body cited Section 5(i) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7638, otherwise known as Department of Energy Act of 1992, which allows the host town to get 25 percent of the available capacity generated by SPPC in times of energy shortage.

Alabel and the rest of Sarangani, along with General Santos City and the South Cotabato towns of Tupi and Polomolok, are under the distribution franchise of Socotecto II.

Councilor Joel Aton said Alabel, capitol town of Sarangani, has an average monthly consumption of 1,953,500 kilowatt hour.

Aton said DoE has sent word it will dispatch personnel for technical evaluation.

Preferential treatment

Socoteco II resorted into daily rotational brownouts of up to four hours following advice of reduced supply from Napocor.

Socoteco II manager for institutional service department Geronimo Desesto said supply from Napocor went further down from 75 MW to 45 MW in April, prompting the cooperative to purchase a total of 30 MW additional power supply from Therma Marine Inc.

Alabel is among a growing number of local government unit demanding preferential treatment from power plants located in their areas.

Last month, Kidapawan threatened to launch protest actions if their demand for power supply from the Philippine National Oil Company-Energy Development Corporation is not met.

Kidapawan, which is experiencing brownouts of up to eight hours daily,  is host to the 110 MW Mt. Apo Geothermal Plant.

Last month, President Benigno Aquino III  attended the Mindanao Power Summit in Davao City which tackled the worsening power crisis in the island.

The President however told Mindanao residents they will have to pay more for steady power supply.

Mindanao’s actual and available capacity is now down to less than 1,200 MW, or some 170 MW less than the peak demand of 1,350 MW.

The deficit in power supply has been blamed on antiquated and poorly maintain hydro-electric power plants and the sale of other Napocor generating assets that included the two power barges to Therma Marine.  Power Barges 117 and 118 have a combined capacity of 200 MW. – Rappler.com