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Mindanao power outages seen to worsen as Lake Lanao’s water reaches critical level

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 25 –-Water level at Lake Lanao, the primary source of Mindanao electricity grid, has reached its critical level, threatening to worsen the island's lack of power supply.

Lake Lanao in Lanao provinces is the place where the six Agus plants are located.

The Agus plants, which are very dependent on fresh water of Lake Lanao, are badly affected.

The water level of Lake Lanao is already down to 699.34 meters from 699.66,with a difference of 0.32 meters.

Todate, the power generation capacity of the Agus plants are reduced. Agus 1 was reduced from 80 megawatts (MWs) to 32 MWs; Agusan II from 180 MWs to 60 MWs; Agus lV from 158 MWs to 120 MWs; Agus Vl from 200 MWs to 141 MWs; and Agus VII from 54 MWs to 31 MWs.

Also, currently, Agus V was temporarily shut down to undergo repairs.

On the other hand, the Pulangi Hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon province also reduced its power capacity from 255 Mws to 135 MWs.

The lower water level of the tributaries of Pulangi River – the Bobonawan river, Muleta River, Tigwa River, and Manupali River, also attributed the reduced power capacity of the Pulangi hydroelectric power plant.

The receding water level of Lake Lanao and Pulangi River has forced the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to resort to power load curtailment scheme of rotating power cut in almost all key cities and provinces in the southern island since Feb. 9, this year.

Pedro Ambos, officer-in-charge of the operations and planning department of the National Power Corp.-Mindanao Grid, said El Nino phenomenon also aggravated the situation and would mean more power outages.

“This is nature, lower water level aggravated our power supply. We must follow the power curtailment imposed by the NGCP,” said electric cooperative official in Agusan del Norte Engr. Noli Namocatcat.

Meanwhile, the various chamber of commerce and industry in Northeastern and Northern Mindanao on Thursday reiterated their call on the national government to fast track the construction of more power plants in Mindanao.

Various business chamber in the two regions said millions of pesos were already lost due to severe power crisis.

Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ralph Paguio said industries were already losing money because of the power outages.

The various association of mining, wood and agriculture industries in the Caraga region also asked the national government to mobilize all power barges stationed at various areas in Mindanao.

“They (government) must fast-track the repair of Agus V plant in Lake Lanao to help support the power capacity in the region,” said a wood firm owner of this region’s capital city. (PNA)

RMA/MUC/mec

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