Archie Ajias aka Double “A”
Power shortage in Mindanao has been becoming more worse, surging 358 megawatts according to National Grid Corporation of the Philippines while its effects has been felt by several stakeholders experiencing power interruption running up to 16 hours daily.
The supply is constantly decreasing due to low water levels at reservoirs in Agus and Pulangi hydropower plants as a result of the dry spell.
Agus 1 was generating only 25 MW; Agus 2, 60 MW; Agus 4, 75 MW; Agus 5, 30 MW; Agus 6, 100 MW; Agus 7, 25 MW; and Pulangi, 126 MW a total capacity of 441 MW or just 45 percent of its total rated capacity of 982 MW.
This worsening scenario pushes electric cooperatives in Mindanao through the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives Incorporated (AMRECO) to pass a letter of appeal to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo urging her administration to address the power crisis in the island by utilizing whatever power bestowed on Her under the constitution.
“Through the intervention of the President this would unify efforts and give focus on the problem, thus cutting on unnecessary bureaucratic delays,” the letter put.
In their letter obtained by this paper, AMRECO firstly asked Arroyo to order Department of Energy and other power concerned agencies to immediately utilize power barges generating a total capacity of 242 Megawatts to temporarily address the shortage.
However, according to Jesus Alcordo, president of Global Business Power Corp, the four untapped power barges in Navotas that could supply a total of 242 MW were remain unused because they were subject to litigation between the owners and the banks.
This short term solution however, could turn out to be costly for the government.
“Order the National Power Corporation to act on their commitment to immediately run the Diesel Plant in Iligan City with a capacity of 35 MW,” AMRECO additionally appealed.
The Power Plant has resumed its operation March 1 after forced to shut down for failing to pay taxes to the local government.
AMRECO also appealed to Arroyo act on the long impending need of repair of several generating facilities in Mindanao.
“Make available subsidies or calamity funds to be used in the operation of the available power sources together with those operated by Independent Power Producer which would result in adequate and affordable power in Mindanao,” the letter added.
AMRECO also wants Arroyo to urge the Joint Congressional Power Commission and other concerned agencies of the government to seek long-term solutions to the energy problem in the island.
If the crisis lasted longer, AMRECO foresees industries and business establishments would start lay off employees having difficulty in coping up with their high cost of production and operation using generators, or totally shut down.
“ Economic instability in the island is definitely an economic problem of the country in general,” AMRECO said.
AMRECO also concerned on the coming first poll automation in which reliable source of power plays a vital role in ensuring honest, orderly, peaceful and credible electoral process