Mindanao Development Authority: Power Crisis in Mindanao may last for years

buknewslogo-copyDAVAO CITY (BukidnonNews.net/27 January) Mindanao is currently facing serious power problem that may last for years unless addressed immediately. Mindanao is experiencing an average of 150-200 MW daily power shortage since January 2012, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Assistant Secretary, Romeo Montenegro presented Saturday January 27, 2013 the power situation of Mindanao to members of the media from Mindanao during its 8th Mindanao Media Summit.

“Unreliable Mindanao power grid,” Montenegro said has been one of the reasons why the power crisis endures.

“By 2016 Mindanao will be needing 500MW of power. Another 500MW on 2020 and another 1,600MW on year 2030,” Montenegro added.

The current power supply of Mindanao cannot meet the increasing demand of the island. The cheap source of power which is the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower plant is compromised primarily due to siltation of river systems.

Mindanao power plants have an installed capacity of more than 2,000MW but only around 70% of this is produced due to inefficiencies like old age of plants that can no longer function to its full potential.

Moves to utilize fossil fuels in the energy mix and also tapping the clean and renewable power sources are underway.

“Electricity consumption growth and substantial loss due to inefficiencies must be addressed,” Montenegro stressed.

With the present power shortage problem in Mindanao, businesses are affected. This could also mean a great factor that can drive away investors since Mindanao’s power supply cannot support possible industries.

Mindanao’s economic growth can be empowered through improved power sector.
Measures are already being planned to curb the power problem of Mindanao. First is to rehabilitate the Agus-Pulangi water systems; second is to tap embedded generators or enhance the Interruptible Load Program (ILP); and to add a diesel power plant in Iligan. These measures are expected to add 400MW power to Mindanao and bail out the region of the said power crisis, yet the plan is not yet fixed.

Some of the recommendations made to circumvent the crisis are: Retain govt ownership of APHEC but re-define its role in the Mindanao power market; Increase the capacities of existing plants with quick rehab; Encourage new capacities and diversify especially Renewable Energy sources; Fast Track approval of new projects; and Revisit (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) EPIRA policy modifications.

Montenegro also called for help from the “demand side” of power which are that of the ordinary consumers. Conserving energy by stopping unnecessary consumption such as leaving television sets and other appliances plugged-in when not in use.

Small efforts like unplugging electric devices can greatly help reduce the demand of power if collectively done and consequently it reduces an ordinary consumer’s electric bill. (Daniel V. Mental/BukidnonNews.net)