Solon: Coops helping address Mindanao power problem

Dec 11, 2014

by Mike Baños, Editor-at-Large

 

Electric cooperatives are actively helping address the power shortage in Mindanao contrary to earlier allegations by energy officials they are partly responsible for bringing it about.

 

“We have been unjustly accused of being responsible for the power crisis in Mindanao by not forecasting correctly and not providing for future increases,” said Rep. Edgardo R. Masongsong (1-CARE Party List). “But the coops by themselves have already provided 101MW additional peaking capacity even before the new capacities from coal-fired baseload plants are rolled out by 2015.”

 

Signing of the Power Purchase and Transfer Agreement for the 5.2MW expansion. L-R: ASELCO GM Emmanuel B. Galarse, ASELCO Board Pres. Corazon Cullantes and PEI Pres & CEO Roel Z. Castro. (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)

 

Masongsong was the keynote speaker during the December 8 (Monday) inauguration of the 5.2 megawatt (MW) peaking power plant of Peakpower San Francisco, Inc. (PSFI) at the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ASELCO) compound, Bgy. San Isidro, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

 

Earlier last month, Masongsong cited how Peakpower Energy Inc. (PEI) also inaugurated another 20.9MW peaking power plant for the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO II) through its wholly-owned subsidiary Peakpower Socsargen Inc. (PEI) and is set to roll out another 10MW peaking plant for the Bukidnon II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BUSECO) by 2015.

 

“All distribution utilities (DUs) whether private or electric coops, should emulate what ASELCO has done by contracting for embedded generation of peaking plants to address the shortfall during peak demands,” the party list solon said.  “Mindanao already has 101MW capacity of diesel/bunker fueled peaking plants which will be operational by year end. This proves electric coops in Mindanao has been helping government address the power shortage in Mindanao.”

 

Masongsong cited how embedded generation plants for DUs cut down on transmission costs and cushion the rate impact on the consumer.

 

“Peaking plants with a load factor of 30 percent running 5-6 hrs a day during peak demand does not significantly affect the price of power for the consumer.”

 

He further cited how the state-of-the art Wartsila units of PEI in General Santos and San Francisco are capable of “flexible baseload” and can operate 24/7 during times of crises using cheaper and cleaner bunker fuel, thus minimizing the impact on the people’s health and the environment.

 

“We chose the Wartsila because of two major things,” said Roel Z. Castro, president and chief executive officer of PSI and PSFI. “It is very fuel efficient and environmentally compliant with uses cleaner Euro 4 compliant bunker fuel from Shell.”

 

“Bringing power to one of your municipalities here, enhancing the investment here, cannot but lead to the development also of the hinterlands,” said Dr. Walter W. Brown, PEI/PSFI Board Chair. “The long range future of this country is not just the development of power projects. Malls are good, but they are not the most important aspect of our country. Most important is to develop the countryside to remove the constraints that provide support for those that fight progress and private sector development.”

 

Another highlight of the inauguration rites was the signing of a power purchase and transfer agreement for the next 5.2MW expansion between PSFI and ASELCO which is expected to be rolled out in the next 10 months to address the coop’s growing demand which has averaged 20 percent during the last 3 years.

 

“We value and appreciate the support we’ve gotten and we dedicate ourselves to looking not only at this project, but other projects that will develop this community, this province, and Mindanao in general,” Dr. Brown added.

 

1st Consumer’s Alliance for Rural Energy (1-CARE) Party List represents rural electricity users and seeks to protect them from abuses by power distributors and generators, was granted party-list status by the Comelec on Jan. 10, 2010.

 

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