GRID BOOT LUZON POWER SUPPLY
Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to start the implementation of the long-standing proposal to link the Mindanao power grid with the rest of the Philippines to avert a potential power shortage in Luzon that is being projected by the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) by 2018.
According to Escudero, the EDC expects the demand for power to go up due to the country’s growing economy, which may impact on the energy supply to Luzon.
With the projected over supply of electricity in Mindanao starting next year because of the completion of new power plants, Escudero said the Mindanao-Visayas power interconnection would make it possible to share the surplus power to Luzon.
Power supply in Mindanao is projected to hit 13,300 megawatts (MW) by 2016 compared to a projected demand of 12,000 MW, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
Escudero said lawmakers have long been pushing for the link-up since discussion on Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) started in Congress 15 years ago.
“We have been pushing for that since the EPIRA was being discussed in Congress in 2000. We’ve been proposing that already –the inter-connectivity and a truly national grid connecting to the entire country’s power lines,” Escudero said.
Escudero however, admitted that the government’s hands are tied on the issue since NGCP is a private enity.
“NGCP cannot be forced to hasten the implementation of the plan since it has already been privatized but the government can exert pressure, and that pressure would come from the fact that no new power could be brought from areas where there is a surplus of supply to places where there is a supply shortfall,” he added.
The same solution could be applied before to address the Mindanao power crisis because Luzon had only enough power supply for its consumers, according to Escudero.
Recent reports said the NGCP is still completing the feasibility study on the Mindanao-Visayas power line interconnection but it has vowed to complete the project by 2018.
NGCP said it has been studying two proposals that would make Dipolog City as the connection point either Cebu or Negros Islands.
The NGCP, which is responsible for bringing the electricity produced by power plants to distribution utilities , has thumbed down the original plan of having a Surigao-Leyte route because it’s situated near active fault lines. The said route, which would have spanned 455 kilometers of overhead lines and 23 kilometer submarine cables, is estimated to cost P 24 billion./MP