4-hour daily blackout hits Davao Light franchise 

Apr. 07, 2016

TAGUM CITY— Due to reduction of power supply caused by the effects of El Niño, ​and the sudden shutdown of a unit of a coal plant in Davao City, ​the Davao Light and Power Company started implementing a period of two to four hours of rotational power outages since Wednesday, April 6.

The power outages, DLPC said, was attributed to the emergency shutdown of one of the units of the Therma South Inc. (TSI) coal-fired power plant in which DLPC has a 50 MW contract. Therma South Inc. is presently investigating to determine the problem.

In a statement Thursday, Ross Luga, Davao Light’s Communication officer said that Davao Light will continue to optimize on its supply contracts with the other generating plants, activate the Interruptible Load Program and run the standby Bajada Power Plant.

“Davao Light emphasizes that due to no reserve in the Mindanao grid, any major plant that will undergo shutdown will extend the length of time of the rotating brownout including Davao Light,” he said.

According to Luga, new generating plants mostly coal-fueled power plant in Mindanao, which Davao Light has contracted additional power supply, are coming in May and August 2016. (davaotoday.com)

  • TomD

    How did the electricity situation on Mindanao become this bad . . . with such a discrepancy between supply and demand? It didn’t happen overnight, it has been developing for many years.

    While the effects of El Nino, and the resulting droughts, are a challenge, its consequences should have always been factored into any overall, long-term assessment of the supply and demand for electricity on Mindanao. As the people of Mindanao are inconveniently finding out now (and for some small-business owners who do not have back-up generator capacity, it is virtually catastrophic for their day-to-day economic livelihood), hydro does not provide stable base-load supply for an electricity-based economy and lifestyle, as the “fuel,” water, cannot be accurately procured in advance. Either its there, in the lakes and reservoirs, to be used to generate electricity, or it isn’t. If it isn’t, power can’t be generated. Perhaps some environmental and political activists, who decry an “electricity-based economy and lifestyle,” have directly taken actions that have helped to create this situation.

    Surely the power companies have been doing advanced capacity-planning, anticipating in past years the increase in demand for the future and proposing to build new capacity to meet that demand. Have they been prevented from doing so? By what and by whom? And, unlike in the United States, it seems on Mindanao that many of the electric power providers do not generate the electricity themselves, they buy much of it under contract from a third party. This can lead to problems. Finally, have environmental activists delayed new construction of capacity, particularly through legal channels and delays, causing, over the recent past, supply to lag demand, helping to create this situation?

    This is a topic that, given the current adverse impact that it is having an all citizens, affecting individual customers, not to mention businesses, with the instability of not knowing when electricity will be available to run one’s business, large or small. Some enterprising journalist should do a detailed study over the past, unbiased either for or against the government, power companies and environmental activists, helping to uncover how Mindanao got into this electrical supply/demand mess, helping to lead the way forward. But it must be an unbiased critique, not a mouthpiece of propaganda for one element of the story, like the environmental activists, relevant government officials or those in the power companies.

  • Steven Hark

    I sometimes wonder if interference from Manila has caused the present power situation in Mindanao. Luzon has a generating surplus of over 2,000 mega Watts while Mindanao has an ongoing deficit. Perhaps there has been too much reliance on Hydro-electric power from two major power plants but if the average person in Mindanao can understand the effects of El Nino why couldn’t the power planners realize that relying on hydro power just wont work. Instead of spending billions on new plant perhaps the government should be heavily subsidizing photo-voltaic panels for all buildings in Mindanao.

    Finally, what is going to happen on election day – blackouts throughout Mindanao resulting in a reduced count for presidentiable Mayor Duterte. Is that what the blackouts are leading up to?

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