Mindanao power crunch worsens
Rotating brownouts of up to five hours in some areas are back in Mindanao as the water level in hydropower plants in Lanao and Bukidnon continued to decline, the Malacañang-created Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee said.
Even the Davao Light and Power Co., which is owned by power generator Aboitiz group, said it was implementing up to two hours of power interruption in Davao City and its areas of coverage due to the limited supply of electricity brought by the dwindling water levels in hydro sources in Mindanao either due to lack of rain or siltation.
The low water levels at the dams that fuel around half of Mindanao’s power supply has brought down the capacity of the Agus-Pulangi hydropower stations—making Mindanao’s energy situation more precarious.
The reduced output, combined with the preventive maintenance shutdown of a major power plant, so far resulted in extended rolling brownouts in certain areas, according to Romeo Montenegro, director of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
“But it’s not all across Mindanao because there are many (electric cooperatives) that are well contracted, even with embedded modular generation sets,” Montenegro said.
In a report, the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) noted that water levels of Lake Lanao and the Agus and Pulangi dams continued to drop in the past few days, breaching critical points as of July 21, citing data from the state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor).
This comes at a critical time given the preventive maintenance shutdown of the 105-megawatt (MW) Unit 2 of the 210-MW STEAG coal-fired power plant of State Power Inc. (SPI) in Misamis Oriental.
Unit 2 has been on preventive maintenance shutdown since last July 18 and is expected to get back online this Aug. 16.
The water level of Lake Lanao as of Wednesday was at 699.24 meters above sea level (masl). The normal high water level for the lake is at 701.10 masl, while the minimum operating levels is at 699.15 masl.
The water level of Agus 4 stands at 358.31 masl, which is nearing its minimum operating level of 357 masl and is lower compared to 358.88 masl a couple of days ago.
Pulangi 4’s water level is at 280.4 masl compared to the previous 281.02 masl. The dam, which is located in Maramag, Bukidnon, has a normal high water level of 285 masl and minimum operating level of 282 masl. It is churning out just 20 MW out of its 250-MW capacity largely on account of siltation.