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MinDA seeks US help in assessing power situation

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has sought the help of the American government in evaluating the impact of the quarantine protocols on the power industry in Mindanao.

In an electronic mail to TIMES Thursday, Romeo M. Montenegro, MinDA deputy executive director, said Secretary Emmanuel F. Piňol, MinDA chair, has submitted a proposal to the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) to help in carrying out the impact study.”

“MinDA, as head of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC), would be making an assessment of the impact of the enhanced community quarantine to the island’s power sector inorder to determine measures needed to support the industry,” said Montenegro.

The rationale behind the conduct of the evaluation, he explained, is the “need to take a look at how power industry in Mindanao is keeping up with the current situation, noting the island’s distinct power structure which is slightly different from the interconnected network of Visayas and Luzon.”

Mindanao is the only major island in the country that is not part of the country’s grid as the interconnection between itself and the rest of the country is still being established through the project of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Montenegro added that the Mindanao power structure “is slightly different from (that of ) Luzon,” because in Mindanao, the dominant distribution utilities are electric cooperatives especially in rural areas.

He said while the agency has noted the reduction of power demand in urban centers by about a third of the normal usage due to the lockdown and suspension of operations of major establishments and industry, “the situation may be slightly different in the provinces.”

In areas being served by electric cooperatives, the main users are residential segments, “and with the current stay at home mode there’s a possibility for consumption uptick especially with extended use of electric-powered household items such as cooking appliances, airconditioning system, home entertainment equipment and other electronic gadgets being used to connect with others.”

MinDA, through the MPMC, had worked with a USAID project, the Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability, a project that pushed for the establishment of renewable energy projects as well as an online-based facilitation channel for these projects.

Based on its projections, the NGCP said Mindanao had about 800 megawatts in surplus with about 2,500 megawatts in capacity.

Also, Mindanao was supposed to adopt the wholesale electricity spot market earlier this year, but the plan was shelved as the marketing preparations, including the readiness of industry players, had not been completed.

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