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Impact of dry spell to power dependent on the utility: exec

The dry spell that has slowly impacted on agriculture may not have an impact on electricity demand of Mindanao, a top official of the government said.Romeo M. Montenegro, deputy executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority, told TIMES yesterday that Mindanao has tilted its dependence to coal-fired plants at 70% of the total requirements while the remainder is sourced from hydroelectric plants, particularly the Agus and Pulangi power complexes.

“Mindanao’s current energy mix and supply status may be able to spare Mindanao from the effects of long dry spell to our power situation,” Montenegro said, pointing out that at present, Mindanao has about 800 megawatts in electricity surplus.

However, Montenegro said the impact will be different from place to place as this will be dependent on the status of contracts of power distributor in the area. “But then again, as we always point out, the contracted supply portfolio of each electric cooperative or distribution utility is a determining factor as to whether or not El Niño will result to brownouts,” he said.

He said those that have been heavily contracted with hydroelectric plants with “no financial flexibility to contract non-hydro sources in the interim will likely be affected with El Niño-induced reduced output from hydro power plants.”

“It can be said therefore that effect of El Niño, if ever, to certain electric cooperatives in Mindanao could happen on a case to case basis,” he added.

However, nine years ago, the case was different as the power mix at that time was at 30% fossil and the bigger chunk was supplied by the hydroelectric power plants. It was only in 2010 when Aboitiz Power Corp. started its 300-megawatt power plant in the city and others eventually followed.x

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