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Mindanao power consumers brace for longer brownouts

COTABATO CITY, Aug. 1 (PNA) -- Power consumers in North Cotabato and elsewhere in Mindanao are bracing for longer power interruption until the early part of August, the local electric cooperative on Saturday said.

Vincent Baguio, speaking for the Cotabato Electric Cooperative, said the preventive maintenance on government-owned hydro power plants in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur and the shutting down of STEAG power plant in Misamis Oriental will last until August 16.

"With that, power rationing will continue in the franchise area of Cotelco," he said.

Cotelco serves the city of Kidapawan and the towns of Makilala, Tulunan, Mlang, Magpet, President Roxas, Antipas, Arakan, Matalam and Kabacan.

Agus power plants 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Lanao del Sur and Pulangi 4 hydro electric power plant in Bukidnon have slowed down production due to low water level.

Also undergoing preventive maintenance was the Mt. Apo Unit 1 geothermal power plant in Kidapawan City owned by the Energy Development Corporation (EDC).

Cotelco has been rationing power from three to four hours a day depending on the amount of energy provided by through the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

Baguio said Cotelco buys an average of at least 11 megawatt from the National Power Corporation (NPCs) hydro-electric plants; 8 megawatt from Therma Marine Incorporated in Maco, Compostela Valley; and 5 megawatt from Mt. Apo geothermal power to complete its power requirement of 24 megawatt.

From normal 11 megawatt supply from hydro power plants, Cotelco received only 9 megawatt in July.

Power rationing is not only happening in North Cotabato but in all power cooperatives in the island.

Baguio has appealed to all power consumers to start conserving energy, emphasizing power consumers have great roles to play in energy conservation.

He advised consumers to "put off electric lights when not in use, reduce the use of air conditioning units unless necessary, among others."

The Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) reported that the water levels of Lake Lanao and Agus and Pulangi dams continued to drop the past three days.

As of Friday, the water level has breached critical points based on data from the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) Mindanao Generation.

In another statement, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said that as of July 30 the water level of Lake Lanao was at 699.24 meters above sea level (masl) as compared to the previous 699.26 masl.

In its website, MinDA said the normal high water level for Lake Lanao 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 as compared to 358.88 masl a couple of days ago. The dam has a normal high water level of 359 masl.

MinDA also reported that Pulangi 4 hydropower plant’s water level was at 280.40 masl as compared to the previous 281.02 masl.

The dam in Maramag, Bukidnon, has a normal high water level of 285 masl and minimum operating level of 282 masl. It is currently tossing out just 20 MW out of 250 MW capacity.

“The low water levels of the dams, which provide around half of Mindanao’s power supply, have brought down the capacity of the hydropower plants of the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complexes,” MinDA said. (PNA) JBP/NYP/EOF

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