Looming power shortage to affect sardines canning PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 March 2012 14:42

Another acute power shortage in Zamboanga Peninsula will significantly hurt the sardines canning business, an industry leader said, even as the government lifted recently the three-month ban on fishing activities in Sulu Sea.                           

“The rotational brownouts would affect the production of the fishing industry particularly sardines canning,” said George G. Ledesma, president of the Industrial Group of Zamboanga, Inc.,   

During the dry spell in 2010, the hydropower-dependent region suffered up to five hours of daily brownouts over four months,

Mr. Ledesma said he has asked the local power provider to coordinate with industries on the scheduled outages.              

“We ask them to give us advance notice. This is to avoid disruption All available power sources eyed to in the production aspect,” he said.                               

In response, an official of the local electric cooperative said efforts are being exerted to prevent a repeat of the crisis.

Jesus Y. Castro, general manager of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamceico), said that the cooperative is awaiting approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission of a petition filed in January for the supply of an additional 18-megawatt (MW) load.

The Zamboanga Peninsula, which requires roughly 100 MW, was supplied with more expensive backup power from barges at the height of the crisis two years ago.

Castro said Zamceico is willing to coordinate with leaders of the sardines industry to mitigate the impact of the impending power crisis.

Many parts of Mindanao have been experiencing one-hour rotating daily brownouts these past weeks.

The island’s normal power requirement ranges from 1,400 MW on weekdays to 1,200 MW on weekends.

Last week, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines Web site showed a 229-MW deficiency, or about 18% of the day’s electricity demand.

Ledesma noted some canning factories own power generator sets — which generate more expensive power — but these will not be enough as the industry demand is expected to rise from a quarter-long break in its operation.

“For those that have no generators it will be a setback in their operations,” Ledesma said, noting that the industry has yet to compute the impact of a power shortage on the cost of canned sardines production.

Meanwhile, Estrellita S. Lacuesta, Fisheries bureau regional director, said that no major violation by commercial fishing vessels was recorded by the agency during the three-month fishing ban.

“There were those who were apprehended, but these are minor violations,” she said.