Plant shutdowns to trigger new round of Mindanao Brownouts

The scheduled downtimes of power plants due to routine maintenance and repair works are seen triggering fresh round of power interruptions in Mindanao grid from August to October this year.

This is a scenario affirmed by the Department of Energy (DOE) as it laid down the submitted schedules of facility shutdowns in the grid.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla primarily highlighted the scheduled shutdowns at Agus IV hydropower facility and the Steag coal-fired plant.

"Agus IV units 1 to 3 is scheduled on preventive outage from 15 August to 21 October 2013," the energy chief stressed.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) similarly emphasized that "after seeing capacity improvements in recent months, Mindanao's power supply is expected to revert to precarious supply scenario by August to October when some major power plants go on scheduled maintenance shutdown."

The 210-megawatt Steag power plant will be on preventive maintenance schedule (PMS) - with unit 1 currently on shutdown until this August 14; while Unit 2 will be out of the system from September 21 to October 27 this year.

According to Dr. Carsten Evers, Steag State Power Inc. plant manager, "the preventive maintenance works need to be carried out to ensure efficiency and reliability of the two power generating units."

The company noted that "the planned PMS has been coordinated closely" with the National Power Corporation and the grid operator - National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

"In determining the timing of the PMS, SPI always takes into consideration the power plant's operations and maintenance guidelines, including the anticipated electricity demand-supply condition of Mindanao during the period," Evers said.

He further explained that "the goal is to minimize the impact of any possible power supply shortfall in the island."

The company executive added that since the facility's operations in 2006, "SPI has consistently delivered on its promise to secure an efficient and reliable supply of power to Mindanao." Its availability rate was somehow maintained at a high rate of 93 percent and an unplanned outage rate of less than 1.0 percent. (MMV)

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