By GERMELINA LACORTE
DAVAO CITY—As if to add to the jitters of the upcoming elections, brownouts in the city is getting longer as political parties approach the tail-end of their campaigns.
Power outages in Davao City has lengthened to two and a half to three hours a day on the eve of the May 10 elections owing to the reduction of power supplied by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to DLPC which distributes power in the city, Ross Luga, DLPC corporate communications officer, said.
Luga said DLPC has already laid down contingency plans for the upcoming elections but whether or not the firm would have enough power on election day would depend so much on how much power they could get from the National Power Corporation and the National Grid Corporation, the firm’s main suppliers.
“We can only give what we receive,” said Luga. “We assure you that we will try to avoid brownouts due to maintenance on election day especially in areas with polling places.”
Both the Napocor and the NGCP had earlier cited the declining water levels of the Agus dam, an effect of the El Nino, as the reason for the recurring brownouts that in other areas last from five to six hours in other parts of Mindanao. Mindanao depends mostly on hydropower, mainly sourced from the Agus River in Lanao del Sur and the Pulangi River in Bukidnon.
Except for its standby diesel plant in Bajada, which currently generates an average of 35 megawatts and the Hedcor Sibulan Plant that supplies 18 megawatts of power at peak capacity, DLPC has been sourcing most of its power needs from Napocor and the NGCP.
Since April 24 this year, the power generated by the hydro electric plants in Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur and the Pulangi River in Bukidnon has gone further down, prompting NGCP to raise the curtailment level in the Mindanao grid to 700 megawatts from 600 megawatts. Luga said the curtailment level in the Davao Light franchise area has been increased to 127 megawatts from only 116 megawatts the previous month.
“While Davao Light is exerting its best efforts, it cannot guarantee to keep the rotational outages within two hours due to variability of load and the changing of curtailment levels of National Power Corporation (NPC) and NGCP,” Luga said in a statement.
Energy officials recently admitted in this report that power supply in Mindanao is tight from May 9 to 11.
Barring some power supply problems, however, Luga said the power distribution firm has already prepared for contingencies on the day of the elections by checking the electrical connections of polling centers, organizing teams who will respond to power-related emergency calls from the polling precincts and fielding emergency crews who can respond to brownouts, not caused by supply problems. (Germelina Lacorte/davaotoday.com/