BY SILVER BALANZA & ROAN ABASOLO
The Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) is gearing up for a 6-month long drought starting January as the projected El Nino phenomenon seeps in to trigger rainless days.
DLPC, which has franchise over Davao City and parts of Davao del Norte, is a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Group of Companies. Aboitiz is a major power source generator with its hydropower and coal-powerrd plants and power barges spread all over the country.
Earlier, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa), predicted El Nino, an abnormal weather condition, coming in with mild droughts in November and December of 2014 and developing extreme dry patterns by January to last up to August.
On top of damage to agriculture from the drought, rainless El Nino months could lead to a power crisis with water levels in hydropower plants, currently Mindanao’s major power source, dropping down.
We expect shortage in power supply with EL Nino affecting water levels in hydropower plants in Mindanao, said DLPC executive vice president Arturo M. Milan.
With the predicted severe drought looming, “prayer power” to drive away El Nino is a solution to the coming droughts, Milan said at the media forum Kapehan sa Davao on December 22 in Davao City.
The effect of the El Nino is now being felt, said Roger Velasco, DLPC vice president for engineering, in the same forum.
There is lack of rain or there is no rain at all in the past weeks, said Velasco.
Velasco said this affected water levels at the Agus and Pulangi hydropower complexes, Mindanao’s main power sources, which caused a “tight” power situation during the last two weeks.
Milan said El Nino has severe effect on Mindanao’s power needs because the island is overly dependent on hydropower plants.
Milan said however that the 300MW hydropower plant being built by Aboitiz subsidiary Therma South in Binugao, Toril in Davao City could help stave off the effects of the El Nino drought on Mindanao’s power supply.
Milan said the Davao City complex could be operational by March, when El Nino’s searing heat brings up the drought situation to a high level. LA/JG/SB/RA/CIO