DAVAO CITY - Mindanao’s peak power demand reached an all-time high at 2,013 megawatts on May 08, 2019, a report from the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) revealed. The highest peak demand last year was at 1,853 recorded on December 13.

Mindanao Development Authority Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro, who also heads the MPMC technical working group said this surge in demand can be attributed to the growing economy of Mindanao.

“With Mindanao economy growing solid at 7.1 percent in 2018, primarily driven by our services sector, we can also expect for the power demand to head for an uptick,” Montenegro said.

He, however, assured that Mindanao’s supply remain at a comfortable level, with excess averaging from 400 to 600MW – this despite the summer month, when hydro output is historically low.

MinDA is likewise projecting a need for 3,500 MW of new capacity between 2021-2030 given the sustained economic growth of Mindanao, which triggers massive infrastructure and industry developments across the region.

“At least 40 20-storey buildings are expected to rise in Davao City alone in the next three to five years, with each building requiring at least 5 MW of electricity. It is crucial that power supply moves along this growth trajectory in the long-term, thus the need to bring in new and reliable capacities even before the developments get ahead of us,” Montenegro said.

Although hydro power courtesy of the Agus-Pulangi complex remains to be the biggest and cheapest single source for power in Mindanao, several coal power plants have come on line in the last two years and, combined, now accounts to more than half of the supply, according to MinDA.

“The next big challenge is to ensure a balanced mix of energy sources that will provide these new capacities, so we can continue to provide clean, reliable, and affordable power for the consumers,” Montenegro said.

Brownout free election

The highest peak demand also comes in time with the scheduled increase in discharge of water from Lake Lanao for impounding to the downstream reservoirs, to ensure reliable power supply for the national elections.

“Basically, all power plants are required to be ready to supply at full capacity,” Montenegro said.

This is in support to the Department of Energy led election task force efforts, which enjoin all power suppliers and distribution utilities to provide full support and participation to ensure continuous and adequate power supply before, during, and after the election throughout the country.

Given that it's a holiday, power demand in Mindanao during next week's elections is projected to be around 1,700-1,800MW, with expected dependable supply of 2,200-2,500MW.

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