By FROILAN GALLARDO
THE Christmas tree in Divisoria remained unlighted on Monday night despite Aboitiz Power Corp.’s announcement that one of its power plants in Davao del Sur went operational improving the electric supply in the Mindanao.
But the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. (Cepalco) said the extra allocation from Aboitiz is not enough for Cagayan de Oro already reeling with a four-hour daily blackouts.
“The most it can do is shorten our daily brownouts to two and a half hours,” said Cepalco spokesperson Marilyn Chavez.
Chavez said Cagayan de Oro still has a 52-megawatt daily deficit despite the additional power from Aboitiz.
She said Cagayan de Oro, one of the two major urban centers in Mindanao, requires 160 megawatts to feed its needs for the Christmas season.
Chavez said presently, Cepalco receives only 52 megawatts from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
Wilfredo Rodolfo III, communications manager of Aboitiz Power, said Unit 1 of their Therma Marine South generating 150 megawatts went operational at 8 am Monday.
Rodolfo said their other coal plant, also generating 150 megawatts, is expected to be operational by February next year.
Both Aboitiz-owned coal plants in Toril, Davao del Sur were shut down only a few months after it went operational in August this year.
The shutdown strained the power outlook of Mindanao already suffering the effects of the El Nino on the island’s hydroelectric power-generating plants.
Rodolfo said the resumption of one of their coal plants at Therma Marine South means an additional 10 megawatts of electricity to Cepalco which has inked a 20-megawatt supply contract with them.
“Cepalco will be receiving half of the power they have contracted with us,” Rodolfo said.
Chavez confirmed this saying the electricity from Aboitiz came in trickles on Monday—first at three megawatts then hiked to 10 megawatts by 7 pm Monday.
Mindanao Authority director for Investment Promotions and Public Information Romeo Montenegro, said Pulangi hydro plant is producing only at 60 megawatts while the Agus complex of hydro plants in Lanao managed to produce only 269 megawatts.
Montenegro said both hydro plant complex are capable of producing 370 megawatts of electricity but has cut down due to low water elevation in Pulangi River and Lanao lake.
“An aggravating factor for major urban centers like Cagayan de Oro and Davao cities is that November and December are their highest peak months of consumption,” he said.