Cost of electricity is expected to go down in General Santos City and nearby towns of Sarangani and South Cotabato next year when the first of two 105-MW coal-fired power plants of Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) begins commercial operation in the 1st quarter of 2016.
Acting manager Crisanto Sotelo of the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO II) said power rate will go down by a conservative estimate of Php0.60 per kilowatt hour (kwh) when energy from SEC is bundled into the power supply mix of the cooperative.
SEC is committed to supply 70MW of its power output to Socoteco II at a contract price starting at P4.20 per kwh.
The average cost of electricity of Soceteco II is now more than P8 per kwh, up by more than P3 per kwh when negotiations between the cooperative and SEC began in 2010.
Socoteco II has a peak demand of 130MW, 25 MW more when SEC and the cooperative signed a power sales agreement in 2012.
The PSA is for the supply of 70MW of base load capacity.
In 2010, Socoteco II was forced to implement as much as 12 hours of rotating brownouts when supply from the National Power Corporation (NPC) dropped to as low as 55 MW.
The power distributor eventually contracted power supply from the diesel-fired power plants of Sol Energy, Peak Power, Therma South and Mapalad Power Corporation to fill the deficiency in supply as power coming from NPC further dropped to between 35-40 MW on the average.
Sotelo said they are contracting the supply from these power plants by as much as P12 per kwh ($0.35).
He added that they will terminate the contracts of some of these power plants once SEC is already energized.
On Wednesday, November 4, SEC fired the boiler engines as a calibrated step towards the full operation of the power plant when the main furnace is already fired to generate combustion for the turbines of the plant.
Marino Gamutin Jr said they have targeted a March 1 commercial operation date for regular supply from the power pant to be fully connected to the power lines of Socoteco II.
Synchronization however will begin as early as December.
The SEC also announced that it has already secured a notice to proceed construction for the next phase of its multi-billion peso project.
Construction of the 2nd 105-MW power plant could begin in the second half of next year.
SEC officials said they expect to finish the next plant in 30 months.
The twin power plants of SEC had an initial price tag of P19 billion ($569 million), the single biggest investment in Region 12 since it was separated from Region 11 (Davao region).
Region 12 is comprised of the provinces and cities of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and General Santos City.