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Saturday, 28 May 2016 14:17




Los Angeles, CA. — Just came in from a three-day cruise to Ensalada, Mexico on board the “Carnival Inspiration” with my family that included my wife, Mila, daughters Joy and Ginny with their husbands, Jet and Paul; my son, Robert and his wife, Pam, and four grandchildren Joshua, Nathan, Justin and Robert Maximus. I’ll write about the exciting short, but fabulous sea and land vacation next time around.

This time, let me update you on the power situation in Zamboanga city and the rest of Mindanao. From Engineer Ruben Conti, consultant of San Ramon Power, Inc. (SRPI), comes this bit of good news: Presently, the independent power producers and Psalm are able to provide a combined power output of 100 megawatts to the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco). Because the water level of Lake Lanao is steadily rising due to heavy rains, Psalm is giving Zamcelco 20MW. Still, Zamcelco has a reserve power of 14MW from its NEA-loaned modular generating sets. The outages (Zamcelco has not been able to correct this inefficiency in power delivery) are due to line problems WHICH CAN SERVE AS BAD NEWS because of the coming typhoon season.

Engr. Conti suggests that Zamcelco should immediately conduct necessary maintenance work, like row clearing, before the string of bad weather sets in. Yes, there are nagging complaints about the abrupt brownouts which affect the entire feeder line. I was told that consumers complain about their air-cons, frige and e-fans conking out due to on-off-on-off electricity.

From Victor V. Saulon: “Mindanao will have an oversupply of about 100-200 megawatts towards the end of the year as new power plants start delivering electricity, but that the excess could easily be taken up by the island’s suppressed demand.”

Mr. Joseph C. Nocos, Vice President for business development of Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. said in an interview the combined capacity will come online in the second half from the 150MW initial phase of San Miguel Consolidated Power Corp.’s Davao coal-fired power project and the first of the three 135MW coal power plants of the FDC Utilities, Inc.

He further said: “In a grid like Mindanao with a total demand of from 15,000MW to 16,000MW, that will give us a comfortable reserve power.”

He said the dispatch system sequence would allow the conservation of power, unlike before when hydroelectric power plants were running full blast, preventing the maintenance of reserve electricity in the grid.

In another development, Mr. Nocos said the rebalancing of the grid’s energy mix must be set against the backdrop of the load profile, Ms. Myrna Velasco of Manila Bulletin reported.

Mr. Nocos, Ms. Velasco writes, said that whatever the local profile dictates should also be influenced by the ratio among coal, gas and renewable energy and considering what is already in place. He expounded: “Given the preponderance of coal capacity that we expect to have in the next 2-3 years, I think our base load requirement would be well provided for.”

Mr. Nocos noted that diesel plants will continually soak up that function in the system, even when Mindanao has already achieved fully its power supply solutions.

This is what should worry Zamcelco consumers — the National Electrification Administration (NEA) Compliance Report. Out of six key results areas, Zamcelco has miserably failed in five areas. This inefficient type of performance caused the firing of then Zamcelco GM George Ledesma.

Get a load of this: In 1980, Zamcelco’s system’s loss was about 22 percent. For the last quarter of 2015, the system’s loss was 21.7%. There were six area project supervisors and five board-approved general managers. Since then, no improvements have been introduced to make Zamcelco financially viable.

Not that he’s a friend, but during the time of Mr. Rey Ramos (he also got the boot) the system’s loss was about 17%. After he was dismissed, the SL jumped to about 21 or so percent. P.I.

In the 2015 NEA Compliance Report, Zamcelco has been rated YELLOW 2-EC with a profitability of negative P113.321 million and a negative networth of P63.701 million.

Caramba, damas y caballeros. Zamcelco is living in a yellow submarine. Sinking, sinking, sinking.