Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative Inc

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has provisionally approved Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative Inc.’s energy supply agreement (ESA) with Therma Marine Inc., the owner of the two 100-megawatt power barges in Mindanao.

ERC said the move allows the immediate utilization of 18 MW of TMI’s remaining uncontracted generation capacity and add to the available generation supply in Mindanao. Aboitiz Power Corp. is the parent firm of TMI.

The regulator said the execution of the ESAs between utilities like ZAMCELCO and TMI and the ERC’s approval of these ESAs are needed to make available for dispatch the generation capacity of the two power barges to augment energy supply and help meet the electricity demand in Mindanao.

“The ERC’s timely action on the applications of the Mindanao utilities to augment their power requirements with power coming from the TMI power barges facilitated the utilization of the generation capacity of these barges for the Mindanao consumers. Were it not for the mandatory 30-day period as imposed by the IRR and confirmed by no less than the Supreme Court in the issuance of provisional reliefs, the ERC would have acted already on all the applications,” ERC Executive Director Francis Saturnino Juan said.

ERC said its action on ZAMCELCO’s application brings to 16 the number of ESAs between the Mindanao utilities and TMI provisionally approved by the ERC.

These contracts cover 152 MW (inclusive of additional capacity contracted by some of the utilities) of the combined capacity of the power barges.

Only three ESAs remain for ERC’s action — those of Misamis Occidental I Electric Cooperative Inc. (MOELCI I) for two MW, Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative Inc. (BUSECO) for five MW, and Cotabato Electric Cooperative Inc. (COTELCO) for eight MW.

MOELCI I’s application for approval of its ESA with TMI was filed on March 23, 2012 and the earliest that the ERC can act on the application is on April 10, 2012 after the expiration of the mandatory 30-day period granted by the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9136 for interested parties to submit their comments or opposition to the application.

BUSECO’s and COTELCO’s applications were filed on April 2, 2012, and thus the ERC can act on these applications at the earliest in May 2012.

As provisionally approved, the applicable rates for the TMI’s supply to ZAMCELCO are broken down into a Capacity Fee of P400 per kiloWatt per month; fixed operating and maintenance fee of P207 per kW per month; and energy fee of P0.4864 per kWh, plus a fuel and lube oil rate, which is pass-through, but subject to a fuel consumption rate of P0.2210 per liter per kWh for Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and P0.00313 per liter per kWh for lube oil or actual, whichever is lower.

The Department of Energy, for its part, said fewer electric cooperatives are experiencing power outages now after the issuance of a department circular which aims to rationalize the power supply in the region.

DOE said not all areas in Mindanao have power outages such as Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and Davao.

With the issuance of the circular, areas not experiencing interruptions now include Malaybalay, Dipolog, Dapitan, Valencia, Camiguin, Panabo, Digos, Tagum, Mati, Surigao, Butuan, and Cabadbaran.

This is a result of the issuance of a stop-gap measure last month, DC 2012–03-0004, which directs electric cooperatives to nominate their needed power to supply their demands.

DOE said this now results to less power outage for provinces in Mindanao and current power supply deficit of 100-160 MW from 360 MW during the previous months.

However, the DOE continues to monitor its implementation to ensure strict compliance to the Circular among stakeholders.

Alongside this measure, the DOE is also evaluating other solutions such as the operation of the Iligan Diesel Power Plant (IDPP), which will be able to produce an initial power of 15-20 MW and may increase upon rehabilitation, and the improvements of the Agus and Pulangui hydropower plants.

The Pulangui plant will be rehabilitated this month and DOE is already studying ways on how to mitigate its effect on the power supply. Agus Plant, meanwhile, will be rehabilitated in June.

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