Celso tackles power crisis PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 09 March 2013 10:55

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday morning summoned officials of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) and other stakeholders to a meeting in City Hall to tackle the power situation in the wake of the Mindanao wide power crisis.
The meeting yesterday was a prelude to a power summit that the mayor is organizing with the support of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) head Editha Bueno and Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) Chair Sec. Luwalhati Antonino sometime next week.

The mayor was prompted to call the meeting after being informed that the power supply shortage will result to at least 7-8 hours brownout in Zamboanga City daily. 

On Thursday, Lobregat immediately called Bueno and Antonino to bring up the city’s concerns and suggested the holding of a power summit to effectively tackle the City’s power issue. 

The proposed Zamboanga Power Summit will be attended by officials from the Department of Energy, NEA, Energy Regulatory Commission, National Grid Power Corporation (NGPC), ZAMCELCO and all other stakeholders in the city. 

“I think it is best that all agencies of government that have to do with power will come to Zamboanga and brief all the sectors about the situation and possibly come up with recommendations and solutions on a temporary, short term, medium-term or longer basis,” Lobregat said during the meeting yesterday.

Attending the meeting yesterday were Zamcelco officials headed by the OIC Manager and Project Supervisor Sherwin Mañada and Board of Directors led by President Elbert Atilano, business group led by Eddie Chua, Industrial Group led by Engr. George Ledesma, WMSU President Dr. Milabel Ho, ZCSPC President Dr. Nora Ponce and other stakeholders.

Lobregat explained that the power crisis is not only affecting Zamboanga City but the entire Mindanao but that how it affects each area may be different due to distribution situation in each and every locality.

Zamcelco OIC Manager Sherwin Mañada said reduced water level in Lake Lanao has caused the power curtailment in Mindanao, now pegged at 170MW.

In Zamboanga City, for the month of March alone, the power demand is 79,821 MW. Zamcelco’s contracted supply with PSALM is 44,342 and 18MW with TMI translating power deficiency to 17MW. However, due to the decreasing water level in Lake Lanao, PSALM can only provide 36MW bringing the shortage to over 24MW translating to at least 7-8 hours blackout in the city.

“Kulang ang supply at kulang ang available plants at yong mga planta that we have are de-rated na ang capacity and in the case of hydro plants, they are encountering problems with water which is the main supply of energy,” Mañada said stressing that the next option is for the implementation of the Interruptible Load Program (ILP). ILP encourages people or companies with embedded generators to run their generators when there is power shortage with the incentive of getting reimbursements for the fuel used.

Zamcelco last night was scheduled to finalize the contract with the San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI) for the supply of power from the coal fired power plant as part of its long term solution.

Zamcelco Board President Atilano hopes that with the measures being undertaken, a stable power supply in the City can be assured by December.  

Atilano stressed that Zamcelco’s power shortage in Zamboanga could have been lesser this time, had the contract with the TMI which was originally for a 25MW did not encounter delays resulting from opposition from some sectors.

The delay left Zamcelco with only 18MW available power supply in TMI. — Sheila Covarrubias