3/14/2010

ROTATING BLACKOUTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

POWER PLANTS CRISIS !

Last week Ternate experienced three days of one hour brownout (local name for blackout). For several weeks there was rumors of shortage of power in the capital region due to ''El Niño'' phenomenon and officials were talking about rotating brownouts.
But it became critical last week in Mindanao the second largest island of the country. An American Guy, living in Davao City wrote: ''These days, living in Mindanao is a bit tougher than it was just a few months ago. Frankly the island is on the verge of being powerless ... in other words, without electricity''.
The main problem of Mindanao is that the island is more dependent on hydro generated power than the other islands of the country. Nevertheless nowadays the whole country is suffering from shortage power.
Electricity situation in key Mindanao Cities last week:
  • Davao City: Two hour rotating brownouts. Brownouts are not daily in every location, but are a few times per week in most places.
  • General Santos City: Three hours brownouts three times per day. In other words, basically every area in Gensen goes for 9 hours per day with no electricity now.
  • Cagayan de Oro: Five hours rotating brownouts daily, once per day in each location.
  • Mati, Davao Oriental: Brownouts up to 12 hours at a time, daily.
  • Koronadal, South Cotabato: Brownouts up to 10 hours at a time, daily.
  • Butuan City: Multiple 2 to 3 hours brownouts every day.
  • Zamboanga Peninsula: Daily brownouts of up to 18 hours at a time.
                                                                             (Source Bob Martin, Davao City)

The situation is not really good in the Visayas too, mostly of the factories are using their own generators having a deal with the local electric companies and keeping the power for small users.
In Luzon officials predict more and more brownouts in the next few weeks.
We need rain and we need rain now ! The problem is that at this time of the year we do not get much precipitation. During normal years, monsoon does not arrive before end of May beginning of June. And that is for normal years without the El Niño. So it is doubtful that we will be seeing much rain anytime soon, but miracle, the churches are involved and some are praying.
If there is no rain during the next weeks, the Government has only one option: To purchase or to hire some diesel burning barges to generate temporary electricity, this barges being connected to the local networks.
But even this solution will take time. Minimum two weeks for the purchase, two to three weeks to ship the barges, two to three weeks to install and connect to the local networks, plus ... Minimum two months.
So the situation will go much worse than it is now.

El Niño not the only culprit !
For several years now I heard of a possibility of power shortage.
The Philippines are in touch with brownouts for a long time. During the Marcos regime in the 80' Manila experienced 8 hours of power daily, individuals and companies using generators. 



No comments: