Solon wants probe on NorDECo amid Samal power crisis

Senator Raffy Tulfo on Sunday said he is seeking an inquiry on the operations of the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative or NorDECo amid the series of power outages in the Island Garden City of Samal.

Tulfo, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, said there’s a need to determine the negligence and accountability of the NorDECo in the power interruptions in the Samal Island, which is now under the state of calamity due to grappling with the persistent energy crisis.

The committee is set to discuss issues on the power crisis in Samal Island in a hearing on 24 May, according to Tulfo.

“We will make accountable those who are negligent and we will find a long-term solution,” Tulfo said in a statement. “But as it appears now that NorDECo seems to be root of the failure because of the submarine cable that is old as their ancestors has not been replaced.”

Citing reports, Tulfo said the power outages in the Samal Island usually last up to seven to eight hours during peak loads and two to three hours during off-peak on the daily average.

“This has been going on since last year. NorDECo apparently failed to prepare for the increase in electricity demand in the area, considering that before the island became a tourist spot, the lack of electricity here was unnoticed,” Tulfo said.

He added that the Island’s power demand has increased from only megawatts to nine megawatts amid the spike in tourism establishments such as resorts and restaurants and markets.

Samal Island is connected to the Pantukan Grid through a submarine cable owned by NorDECo.

“The antiquated submarine cable is installed in the 1980s or 43 years ago, and it can no longer cover the entire capacity of the island,” the lawmaker said.

“Presently, the Mindoro Grid Corporation can provide 6.962MW electricity on the island while NORDECo can provide 3MW. In total, there is only 6.12MW supply on the island with a demand of 9MW,” he added.

Tulfo said there’s also a need to ensure the existence of a provision in the Power Supply Agreement — requiring a power replacement through modular generator sets — for all power providers so that there will be a reliable electric service.

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