Samal Island

Electric cooperative starts using modular generators to rid Samal of power woes

Lucelle Bonzo

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Electric cooperative starts using modular generators to rid Samal of power woes

FIX. A worker of the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative fixes a power line.

Northern Davao Electric Cooperative

A Northern Davao Electric Cooperative official proposes reconnection to the Mindanao grid as the ultimate solution to island's power problem

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (NORDECO) started using modular generator sets to rid the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) of rotational power outages.

The modular generator sets are sufficient to provide power to the entire island, NORDECO said in a June 16 statement.

Blackouts had plagued Samal after NORDECO’s submarine cable was damaged by the anchor of M/V Ecuador from Seaview Cargo Shipping Corporation. 

In response, the City Council of IGACOS declared a state of calamity in March to implement necessary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the power crisis.

IGACOS, a major tourism destination in the Davao region, requires 9 megawatts daily, 6.12 mw of which are sourced from the Mindoro Grid Corporation while 3 mw come from NORDECO.

NORDECO, an electric distribution utility, serves 18,000 households and commercial establishments.

In 2016, NORDECO entered into a power supply agreement with IGACOS Light and Power Company, deploying generators and partnering with Mindoro Grid Corporation to supplement the electricity needs. An eight-megawatt modular generator was initially installed in Barangay Mambago-a, Peñaplata.

Elvera Alngog, the officer-in-charge of NORDECO, said the old submarine cable, which would require P10 million to repair, was no longer efficient and proposed a reconnection to the Mindanao power grid as the ultimate solution.

Since June 5, the operation of more modular generating sets has ended the power crisis on the island.

The Davao Consumer Movement (DCM), however, criticized NORDECO for failing to fulfill its commitment to avoid power disruptions starting June 1.

In a previous statement, the electric cooperative pledged to end the power load-shedding scheme of the island after the delivery and operation of two-megawatt modular power generator sets on May 26 and May 30, respectively.

According to DCM, power interruptions persisted on the island, with no improvements in service delivery.

A Senate probe conducted by the Committee on Energy on May 24 examined consumer complaints about power outages that affected their livelihoods and quality of life on the island.

During the session, NORDECO assured that the crisis would be resolved by the end of May and promised to face the consequences if the issue remained unresolved. 

The cooperative proposed a P1.5-billion, 15-kilometer submarine cable project connecting IGACOS and Pantukan town to stabilize the power supply. –

Lucelle Bonzo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.

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