DOE asks Comelec’s help in securing Mindanao power supply on election

by Myrna Velasco – February 17, 2016 (updated)

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) will be seeking the help of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ensure power supply in Mindanao during the election period.

Primarily, the department noted that it will need the “deputized power” vested upon Comelec so the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) can finally have access to repair bombed transmission tower 25 which has been adversely impacting on Mindanao power supply.

“We wrote to them (Comelec) that when feasible, there should be focus on the repair of tower 25,” she told reporters in a press briefing.

Bringing that particular tower back to service is seen critical because it supports the wheeling of capacity of Agus 1 and 2 power plants – which will then supplement the grid’s capacity by 80 megawatts.

She noted that Mindanao grid is seen as the one that will have probable dilemmas especially if the El Niño weather phenomenon will strike hard during the summer season, which unfortunately also falls on the election period.

“Shortfall is mainly on reserves for Mindanao grid,” she stressed, noting that if the Agus 1 and 2 plants will revert to operation, this problem can be eased.

At this point though, the energy chief noted that several measures are already being explored on how they could shore up capacity – both for energy and reserve – in the months leading to the national polls and the rest of the summer season.

For one, she noted that the government is considering the deployment of modular generating sets (gensets) in areas or in the domain of electric cooperatives that will likely experience power supply dilemmas during the period.

Monsada noted that inventory of the ECs’ power supply requirements as linked to the polling precinct areas, is currently being undertaken so the gensets’ deployment could be strategically targeted.

The proposal will be for the ECs to tap into the unused component of the P4.5-billion Malampaya fund that had been allotted for gensets since 2013.

The outcome of the propounded inventory of power requirements along targeted areas is expected in the next ‘power supply task force’ meeting this February 26.

Additionally, the energy chief has indicated that water use at the Agus plants is being managed so their operations can be stretched during the more critical summer season.