No brownouts on election day in Mindanao – MinDA

Edwin G. Espejo

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Mindanao will have enough power on election day, according to the island's development authority, but large consumers should still disengage from the grid and use their generators, as advised by the DOE

ELECTRICITY WOES. Mindanao suffers a chronic power shortage and many fear this could lead to an election failure if supply is insufficient. Graphic by Teddy Pavon

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – No brownouts on election day in Mindanao? Authorities promise they can deliver an uninterrupted power supply.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has set up a monitoring team to ensure that the island will have adequate and uninterrupted power supply on May 13, MinDA director for public affairs Romeo Montenegro said on Saturday, May 11.

Montenegro explained the monitoring center will reinforce the Power Task Force Election 2013 setup established by the Department of Energy (DOE), which earlier assured the public there would be enough supply for the grid on election day.

Mindanao has been suffering for decades a power supply shortfall, as the available capacity is insufficient to meet growing electricity demand on the island. (Read: Mindanao power issue to last until 2015 – Energy chief)

Montenegro added that “technicians are working day and night” at the Mapalad Power Corporation to complete repairs in time to deliver 30 megawatts to the Mindanao grid in time for the vote.

Aboitiz-owned unit Therma Marine Inc. also announced that it has restored the power supply from one of its 55 MW power barges that conked out in March.

Shorter power outages

According to DOE projections, Mindanao will have on Monday a projected supply of 1,330MW to feed the peak demand of around 1,126MW, if large consumers heed calls from authorities to “disengage from the grid” and use their standby generators.

Some cities that are particularly vulnerable to a power supply shortfall are General Santos, Cotabato, Iligan and Zamboanga, which have been suffering from daily outages of up to 8 hours since the start of the year.

Power supply in recent has improved slightly, with outages reduced to not more than four hours a day.

Monday’s mid-term vote will again rely heavily on electric power as the Philippines implements automated voting for the second time.

The Commission on Elections has played down fears of an election failure in case of a power supply breakdown and reminded the public that the precinct count optical scanner (PCOS) machines have backup batteries that can last up to 24 hours.

Power supply in Mindanao has however become an electoral campaign issue, and UNA senatorial candidate Jack Enrile in March blamed President Benigno Aquino III for “sitting” on the problem. –

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