Petilla: I have nightmares about Mindanao daily

Posted at 05/09/14 7:57 PM

Mindanao still plagued with power interruptions

MANILA – Widespread power interruptions have been plaguing Mindanao for quite some time.

Even urban centers like Davao City are not spared from rotating power outages due to insufficient electricity supply.

Two power plants were back online late Thursday but still, the power deficiency remains at over 270 megawatts.

The Department of Energy said Mindanao residents will have to wait longer for the situation to normalize as new generating plants will come online in 2015.

There will be additional electricity supply but it will not be as cheap as the hydropower source.

“Any additional power, short-term, means that there will be additional expense, that is the only way we can get rid of brownouts in Mindanao,” said Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

But legislators from Mindanao feel that the national government has neglected the Mindanao power issue, particularly the rehabilitation of the Agus Pulangi hydropower facility.


“The people of Mindanao are angry. Angry but what can they do except to complain,” said Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

Petilla, however, denied that Mindanao’s power woes have been neglected by government.

“Hindi kami nagpapabaya. In fact, I have nightmares about Mindanao on a daily basis, pagkatapos ng trabaho na ito baka magpa-psychiatric [test] na ako,” said Petilla.

According to Rodriguez, Mindanao legislators have asked three things to augment supply:

- the transfer of three power barges to Mindanao from Visayas;
- faster processing of modular gensets acquisition;
- the immediate implementation of the interruptible load program, where generator sets of businesses will be used to lessen demand from the grid.

Rodriguez claimed Mindanao residents can accept higher electricity rates as long as the spikes are reasonable.

But aside from Mindanao, a potential supply problem may also be creeping in the Visayas and Luzon, where a yellow alert was raised Friday, meaning the reserve electricity is thin after a unit of Sual power plant in Pangasinan with a capacity of 647-megawatts bogged down.