DAVAO CITY – Up to six hours of power outages have struck a large part of Mindanao again.
Only last July,the whole Mindanao power grid was placed under alert after longer and more frequent brownouts lasting for as long as seven hours went unabated.
Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (Amreco) President Sergio C. Dagooc said power outages increased in duration in Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and Davao.
“We have done everything, however the reduction of Agus (Lanao) and Pulangi (Bukidnon) hydropower plants as well as Steag PMS is beyond our control,” Dagooc said.
According to him, there was a need to implement demand side management or efficient utilization of electricity. “Unplug, defroze, turn off unnecessary appliances and lights and do not use decorative lights,” he said.
“Before the preventive maintenance shutdown, Amreco was trying to negotiate with STEAG power to defer the schedule but to no avail since according to them it’s been long overdue and was creating more and more danger to the technical integrity of the plant,” he said.
Then the situation was worsened by the low water level in Agus and Pulangi plants in Lanao and Bukidnon, respectively, which resulted in the reduction in the capacity output.
The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) imposed the island-wide power cut since last week following the derated capacity of Pulangi and Agus hydropower plants due to low water elevation.
Electricity supply from the Agus 1 and 2 hydro plants in the Mindanao grid was also cut off after unidentified men bombed two NGCP generation towers in Marawi City.
A power outage occurred in several areas of the Mindanao grid after the bombing toppled towers 19 and 20 last Thursday, according to the NGCP.
The toppling of the two towers caused a 150-megawatt deficiency as electricity from Agus 1 and 2 was isolated from the entire Mindanao grid.
Arturo Milan, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Davao Light and Power Corp., assured customers that the situation will normalize once the grid operator restores the tower in Marawi City and when the water level improves on where the Agus and Pulangui hydropower complexes (APHC) are located.
The distribution utility started to implement rotational power interruptions on Oct. 30, Friday.
On Oct. 29, the tower of the NGCP which transmits power from Agus 1 and 2 complexes to Southern Mindanao, was bombed. The two complexes have combined capacity of 260 megawatts.
Milfrance Capulong, spokesperson of NGCP-Mindanao, said in a text message that the two complexes “are isolated from the grid, causing power loss in several areas in the Mindanao grid.”
“Power curtailment is still being implemented but not necessarily related to the bombing but to generation deficiency,” Capulong said.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said in a statement that the deficiency was a result of El Niño phenomenon as low water levels were observed in where APHC are situated.
Restoration work on the two towers is expected to be completed soon.
Police and Army troops are securing the NGCP crew working on the restoration of power.
Customers of DLPC are experiencing two to three-hour rotating power interruptions after the NGCP imposed a Mindanao-wide outage due to the emergency shutdown of two major power plants in Mindanao.
Since Oct. 29, the NGCP had implemented a Mindanao-wide grid curtailment, according to DLPC.
Customers within the Davao Light franchise had to experience emergency power interruptions of within 30 minutes to one hour due to the power supply shortage.
At around 9 p.m. on Oct. 29, the NGCP activated an under frequency due to the sudden interruption of Agus-Kibawe 138 kV Line after an emergency shutdown of the two plants in Agus complex.