GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 March) – The city government has implemented various energy or power conservation measures to help reduce the area’s power consumption in the wake of the worsening supply shortage in the Mindanao grid.
City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio said she issued a directive to all city officials and personnel to adopt a system that will limit the use of electricity in all offices, installations and facilities that are owned and maintained by the local government.
“We’re experiencing these brownouts mainly due to the lack of supply for our (power) demand. So we can help ease this problem by cutting down on our consumption,” the mayor said.
Distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II), which serves this city and parts of South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces, is presently implementing two sets of daily rotating brownouts lasting seven hours each or a total of 14 hours.
The area’s power supplies are currently short by 42 megawatts (MW) based on its daily peak demand of 112 MW, the electric cooperative said.
The National Power Corporation is providing 40 MW of power to the area through its hydroelectric plants while Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine, Inc. augments an additional 30 MW.
Custodio said the area’s power demand may be reduced if every home and office will just limit or save on their electric consumption.
For its part, she said the city government is currently replacing the lights in all its buildings and offices with power-efficient units through the help of the Department of Energy (DoE).
“This will bring down by 25 percent the energy consumption needed to light our offices,” Custodio said.
The mayor said they will be assessing the power consumption of all their offices and will be regulating the use of their cooling and heating appliances.
Aside from this, she said bidding is also ongoing for the purchase of the power-efficient light-emitting diode or LED lights to replace all existing streetlights in the city.
Custodio said that based on their assessment, the use of LED lights will effectively reduce the city’s energy consumption by 1 MW.
“The city government is determined to lead by example in terms of the adoption of power conservation measures,” she said.
Custodio earlier said the local government has initiated negotiations with Socoteco II and the city’s chamber of commerce to determine the viability of enrolling large power users in the area into the DoE’s Interruptible Load Program (ILP).
ILP is a demand-side management scheme that provides compensation to participating customers who enter into a contract with a distribution utility for the voluntary interruption or reduction of the power supply to them during peak periods and emergency conditions.
The mayor said they were also negotiating with some companies for the shifting of their operations from the peak load hours to the off peak period to reduce the area’s power consumption during the peak period.
The peak period is from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. while the off peak period is from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily, Custodio said.
“The city, along with the chamber of commerce and Socoteco II, will be initiating more meetings involving households and companies to jointly tackle the problem and to properly inform everyone on the solutions or actions being undertaken and how they can participate,” she said.
Custodio assured that the local government has been finding ways and means to help ease and provide effective long-term solutions to the daily rotating brownouts in the city.
“If not addressed properly, and this problem persists, it can be disastrous to our local economy and our livelihoods in the long run,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)