Zambo gets 18-MW additional load, but 5-hour blackouts stay PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 14:06

Despite the 18 megawatts of additional power that Zamcelco has purchased from Therma-Marine Inc. (TMI), a based load in Iligan City, Zamboanga will still experience five hours daily rotating blackout due to the repair of Agus 4, one of the hydro power plants that normally produces 100 megawatts, according to Zamcelco vice president Elbert Atilano Sr.

Zamcelco member consumers have been expecting that after TMI’s 18 megawatts will run into the grid of NPC-PSALM and then to Zamcelco, brownouts will be reduced to one to two hours a day, but such expectation did not happen because of the maintenance work now being carried out in the Agus-4 power plant.

According to Atilano, TMI power supply was connected to Zamcelco line last Friday evening (April 20, 2012) between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

At present, NGCP-PSALM is only giving Zamcelco 41 megawatts of the contracted 62 megawatts, not enough to supply the needs of the city which is about 77 to 80 megawatts, Atilano explained.

The entry of TMI power supply to Zamcelco will mean an additional rate per kilowatt in the monthly bill that consumers will pay to the multi-billion electric cooperative.

Although it was not yet made clear as to the exact price that will be added into the present rate, Zamcelco, with the clearance from Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), has decided to enter into a contract with TMI for three years, but renewable every year, for the purchase of the 18 megawatts to partially solve the power crisis in the city.

Zamcelco officials said that ERC is now evaluating the price that was offered by TMI and the counter proposal of Zamcelco and that of the business group that  served as intervenor during a hearing held in the city last week.

A businessman, who requested for anonymity, observed that something is “ridiculous”  in the transaction (between Zamcelco and TMI) considering that no exact rate yet has been established before passing it on to member consumers.

“What if the rate impact is not acceptable to the public? Can we ask Zamcelco to pay the additional rate instead of passing it to the poor member consumers?” asked the businessman.

TMI’s proposal will most likely within the range of 86 centavo, but Zamcelco officials have assured that it will be a lesser rate of about 50 cents per kilowatt that will be added to the monthly bill.

However, some businessmen are hesitant to agree with Zamcelco’s explanation saying that in their own separate computation, the impact rate that will be passed on is within the average of P2 per kilowatt hour.

“We are being taken for a ride by Zamcelco and PSALM..They are here not to help us but rather to fool Zamboanguenos. Just imagine, they purchased 18 megawatts from TMI thinking that we will no longer experience brownouts. But what is happening now, we will pay additional rate in our electric bill while suffering 5 to 6 hours brownout a day,” said Mr. Garcia, a member consumer from Tetuan, this city.

In last week interview over TATAK-RMN Zamboanga, Department of Energy Undersecretary Aina Asirit said there is really a need to repair Agus 4 so to extend its lifespan for another 30 years.

Agus 4 is one of the oldest hydro power plants in Maria Cristina, Iligan City that needs to undergo maintenance work for its effective operation.

In a press statement yesterday, NGCP advised Zamcelco that the Mindanao Grid is on red alert because the contingency reserve is now at zero level caused by generation deficiency.

NGCP further stated that the “load curtailment lvel grid-wide is 190megawatts from 7:00am to 12:00 midnight based on PSALM/NPC-MINGEN load to maintain against generation deficiency matrix for April 2012.”

Because of this, Zamcelco will again impose five-hour brownout per feeder —  two hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon or evening starting 7am to 12:00MN. — Jimmy Villaflores