GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Parts of Sultan Kudarat will have no electricity on Thursday, August 25, after the National Power Corporation-Small Power Utilities Group’s (Napocor-SPUG) failed to pay its P1.2-billion debt to Petron Corporation for its diesel supply.
Napocor-SPUG’s debt has also placed Basilan in a similar situation – the island could lose its power supply before the end of August.
SPUG generates the electricity supply in areas that are not linked to the main Mindanao power grid.
The towns of Kalamansig and Lebak in Sultan Kudarat are dependent on electricity being generated by Napocor’s diesel-fed power plant and barges in Mindanao.
Petron has already stopped supplying diesel to Napocor-SPUG due to its mounting debts.
To conserve fuel, Napocor-SPUG started a power curtailment scheme on Tuesday, August 23, which meant 12-hour blackouts in the coastal towns of Kalamansig and Lebak.
The towns had no supply of electricity from 8 am to 8 pm, and the same scheme would be in effect on Wednesday, August 24.
Napocor notified the Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative (Sukelco) about the need to immediately implement the power curtailment scheme, said Sukelco Area 3 manager Francisco Torres.
Napocor-SPUG Vice President Larry Sabellina said the move was necessary to stretch whatever is left of the fuel supply for the diesel-fed power plant and barges.
The remaining diesel supply is expected to last until Thursday, and all six diesel engines of Napocor-SPUG’s power plant in Kalamansig would be shut down at noon that day.
The island province of Basilan, which is dependent on another diesel-fed power plant, is also facing the prospect of losing power by August 29 because of fuel supply problems, Sabellina said.
In a memorandum to Napocor-SPUG managers, Sabillena said they tried to persuade Petron on Monday, August 22, into agreeing to continue the diesel supply, but the company’s executives were firm on their position to put on hold deliveries to Napocor-SPUG plants until it pays up.
The memo revealed that some areas in Luzon were in the same situation.
Sultan Kudarat officials said the power crisis has already affected some 140,000 people in the province and will have repercussions on local businesses and the local economy.
Sukelco manager Claudia Pondales and local officials have asked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to intervene.
In a letter addressed to Marcos, Pondales said Sabillena and Petron’s Ramon Ang failed to come into terms, and Petron insisted that it get paid P1.2 billion first before it resumes the diesel supply.
She said Ang refused to accept an offer by Napocor-SPUG to pay Petron an initial P250 million. – Rappler.com