By GERMELINA LACORTE
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY—Top executives of the country’s second biggest power distribution firm warned of much longer brown-outs in Mindanao as the declining water level of Agus and Pulangi rivers further push down Mindanao’s power generation capacity by about half of the island’s existing power needs.

Art Milan, chief operating officer of the Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC), cited reports that it will only need another 9 cm for the water level in Agus river to go down before the Agus hydroelectric complex in Lanao del Norte will shutdown.

If that happens, Milan said the power curtailment level in Mindanao will go up to 900 megawatts, which means a much longer brown-out than the one-hour brown-outs being experienced in Davao city, and the four to five-hour brown-outs in neighboring provinces of Digos and Tagum.

“That’s why, it’s very difficult for us to say, whether our curtailment level will increase or decrease in the coming weeks, because there are also thermal plants that will shut down,” Milan said. “The situation is very fluid.”

(davaotoday.com photo by Jose Hernani)

(davaotoday.com photo by Jose Hernani)

He said the National Power Corporation also runs its plants and that any “conking out of those plants will lead to higher curtailment levels.” The DLPC executives urged people to pray not only for rains to come but for the rest of the power plants to keep on running and “not conk out.”

The Agus river in Lanao del Norte and the Pulangi in Bukidnon powers the country’s two largest hydroelectric plants that generate much of Mindanao’s power requirements.

Manuel Orig, DLPC executive vice president, said the Mindanao electric power alliance has been considering two options to solve the current crisis: for Congress to grant emergency power to the President, or to aggregate existing power needs from big industrial users and temporarily source out power from an international supplier.

But Orig said the group has yet to come up with its official position.

He said the proposal to ask Congress to grant emergency power to the President might “take long,” and might not be able to answer the urgency of the crisis. He also said that sourcing out the pressing power needs from an international supplier might also entail a large amount of capital and a “firm contract that the power will be bought” to encourage a foreign supplier to come in.

Orig also pointed out the absence of new power facilities to boost existing capacities in Mindanao has worsened the problem.

He said that even without the El Nino phenomenon, Mindanao is still faced with a crisis because of the absence of new capacities amidst the growing demand for power. “The demand for electricity is going up,” he said. “Even without the crisis of El Nino, we are still facing the crisis, because there are no new capacities to cope up with the increase of the demand.” He said the projected 484 megawatt demand in the coming year can deprive five major cities in Mindanao of power. (Germelina Lacorte/ davaotoday.com)

  • Kenneth Crawley

    Controlled blackouts?
    Many people own computers that sustain damage to files and work when they are shut down without warning.
    If this is a controlled blackout, it wouldn’t be so bad of a thing if the power company could schedule parts of the city for the blackouts and have it planned so people could prepare each day.

  • ric

    Maraming businesses and nalulgi na sa Mindanao. Aalang ng Kuryente, walalpang tax break. Anu bang klacing govyerno meron tau. Wala man lang solution kon di mag dakdak at magdasal ng ulan. Hirap na kami dito sa Mindanao, habanag nagppapasarap kau dyan sa maynila. Nandyan kaci kayong lahat dyan. YOu don’t give a dam to people in Mindanao.

  • Kenneth Crawley

    I read that they will build another hydro-plant in Mindenao. Isn’t this the primary problem?
    How can building another hydo-plant solve anything???
    In Mindenao, we are in need of a power plant with a different source. A fossil fuel plant or desil plant to suppliment the hydro power plants.
    Now there’s a real answer. Hydro as primary power because of cost, and one plant that uses coal or desil to suppliment and prevent the electricity problems.

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