El Nino seen to worsen Mindanao power woes

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 01 2014 03:03 PM | Updated as of May 01 2014 11:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has acknowledged that the power interruptions in Mindanao are going to get worse if there is going to be an extended El Nino phenomenon.

Aside from Steag's 200 megawatt-capacity, which is still not on the grid after it bogged down, Abotiz TMI's 100-megawatt power was also cut to 50 megawatts due to technical malfunction.

As a result, Davao City, an area not usually hit by power interruptions, is experiencing rotating brownouts of up to 4 hours.

Petilla hopes Steag will be back online by May 5 while TMI's additional 50-MW will come back next week.

He said if there is a prolonged dry spell, it will further reduce power from the hydro power plants of the Agus Pulangi hydrocomplex.

"Every summer ang Mindanao ‘di mo talaga maaasahan ang hydro, it will just get worse if there is a declared El Nino," he said.

In the Visayas, Iloilo has experienced rotating brownouts since yesterday after the coal fired Panay Energy Development Corporation was also shut down, but Petilla said there’s an assurance that it will come back online tomorrow.

For Luzon, Petilla sees no problem even if there is an extended El Nino though several days of May will have yellow alerts if two major plants break down.

Petilla expects to further reduce supply by 100-MW as several hydro power plants in Luzon are likely to have less water for energy.