POWER SUMMIT – Bukidnon stakeholders asking first priority in power supply

POWER SUMMIT – Bukidnon stakeholders asking first priority in power supply
By ANN NOBLE, Bukidnon Bureau Chief

POWER SUMMIT. Fibeco Board President Raul Alkuino expounds on the need to have alternative solution on the power crisis specifically in Bukidnon that should be addressed not only by the energy sector but the government itself. Listening intently are (l-r) Fibeco GM Renato Cortezano and Buseco GM Edgardo Masongsong. (Photo Supplied)

MALAYBALAY City––The power industry stakeholders in Bukidnon are urging government regulators to prioritize the power needs of the province being the host to Pulangi 4, one of the major source of hydro power in Mindanao.

During the Bukidnon Power Summit held in Malaybalay City last week, Gov. Alex Calingasan said the power shortage in the province is exacerbated by the government’s move to rationalize the utilization of available generation capacity of power plants, including that of Pulangi 4.

Under Department of Energy Circular No. DC 2010-10-0011, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is mandated to use any and all available capacity to maintain load-generation balance to meet the demand for energy at any given time.

Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (BUSECO), in a board resolution, has expressed opposition to the DOE’s circular stating that it would force the electric coop to enter into a revised Transition Supply Contract whereby Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) has reduced the contracted power demand of BUSECO.

The resolution also cited that BUSECO cannot be compelled by the said DOE circular that would directly diminish the power allocation of the said coop contrary to the contract entered into by National Power Corporation (NPC) and BUSECO. The resolution stressed, NPC has a contractual obligation to perform under the existing contract to provide or supply the electric cooperative with power as stipulated in its contract.

BUSECO and the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (FIBECO) in the previous months have been clamoring for adequate power supply from the province’s Pulangui hydro power complexes citing that only 25% of the total 945,540MW were generated in 2010.

Seeing the imperative resolution to Mindanao’s power crisis, particularly in Bukidnon, Calingasan called on all stakeholders to formulate a unified stand to address the power crisis.

The imminent power curtailment due to the said directive from the DOE and the inadequate power generated from Pulangui 4 due to too much siltation in the river beds has alarmed us, Calingasan said.

The summit was attended by the province’s municipal/city officials, congressional representatives, key officials of the two electric cooperatives; First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (FIBECO) led by GM Engr. Renato Cortezano and Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (BUSECO) under GM Edgardo Masongsong, representatives from the distribution utilities and generating plants in Bukidnon like the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Pulangui 4, First-Gen Bukidnon and the Bubunawan Hydro Power Plant (BHPP) as well as representatives from Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM).

In his talk, former Bukidnon governor and now Vice Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri expounded the province’s unified position saying that energy is the key to the success of the province thus the local government will not allow, with Pulangui 4 being in Bukidnon, that the province will not be able to utilize completely its power needs in the next five years.

“Purchasing energy from independent companies is definitely a big NO in this province because we believe that we have the right to be the first in priority [since Pulangui 4 is in Bukidnon],” Zubiri said.

“You can sell the rest [power generated from Pulangui] after [giving us] what we need, to anybody you want, but the first priority is us,” Zubiri strongly declared.

BUSECO General Manager Edgardo Masongsong echoed Zubiri’s demand noting that the vice governor drove home the essence of the power summit, to ask what is rightfully for Bukidnon.

Malaybalay Branch Manager Juancho Chiong also said that since “charity begins at home,” utilization of other power resources in Bukidnon must be initiated to address the power needs of its consumers.

Various issues were tackled during the summit particularly on the power shortage, privatization of Pulangui 4, Bukidnon’s increasing energy demand and dredging of the existing hydro power plant which, according to NPC Pulangui 4 Plant Manager Rudy Brioso, has already 33 million cubic meter of silts.

In a separate interview, FIBECO General Manager Renato Cortezano also cited his concern on the problem posed by the Pulangui hydro power plant.

He said the Pulangui River beds are filled with silts due to considerable soil erosion along its riverbanks.

Dredging the river will eventually increase the generation capacity of the hydro power plants operating Pulangui, Engr. Cortezano said as he also urged the need to increase environmental awareness especially in growing more trees to prevent soil erosion that could fill the riverbeds with silts.


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