By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 20, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Mindanao electric cooperatives (ECs) and distribution utilities (DUs) are urged to take advantage of the excess power supply regime in the power grid as the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) pushes for reliable and affordable power supply in the region.
MinDA said power distributors should maximize their energy mix and ensure affordable power for their consumers with the oversupply of energy flooding Mindanao in the next few years.
“It is now all about achieving a balanced mix of their sources. Electric cooperatives and distribution utilities must now take advantage of the abundant supply and cheap hydro power but at the same time utilizing their coal power supply contracts,” MinDA deputy executive director Romeo Montenegro said.
“Power distributors must balance reliability, sustainability and most importantly, affordability of power,” he said.
The Duterte administration has pushed for a “technology agnostic” approach on energy security – prioritizing affordable power no matter the technology, to sustain the country’s industrialization.
Although hydro power courtesy of the Agus-Pulangi complex remains to be the biggest and cheapest single source for power in the island, several coal power plants have come on line in the last two years and, combined, now accounts to around half of the supply.
At present, AboitizPower, San Miguel Energy, Filinvest and Saranggani Energy have completed their coal power plants and have started supplying energy into the grid. The flood of new capacity is causing an oversupply of power in Mindanao, an island that just last year suffered up to eight hours of power curtailments daily in some areas.
However, the MinDA official said the oversupply must also be balanced well as some ECs have over-contracted. He encourages electric cooperatives to properly plan their demand forecast to better manage their supply.
‘Their ultimate concern must be the welfare of their consumers. What will give consumers the reliability and what will be cheapest,” said Montenegro, who also heads the technical working group of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC).
Created in 2012 through Executive Order 81, MPMC is tasked to coordinate the efforts of the national, regional, and local governments and power industry stakeholders to improve Mindanao’s power industry.