THE NATIONAL Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has committed to finish the Batangas-Mindoro Interconnection Project by end-2025 or two years ahead of schedule.
“NGCP has agreed to finish it two years in advance. [The] DOE [Department of Energy] requested it and [the] NGCP has been cooperative,” Energy Undersecretary Cristina L. Guevara said during a news briefing with DOE officials last Wednesday.
If and when the commitment will happen, Guevara said there will no longer be any subsidy in Mindoro in the form of the “Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification” (UCME), which is being collected by the National Power Corp. (NPC) from all electric consumers in Luzon.
“This means that there will no longer be UCME there. The UCME being collected from us will be reduced by 20 percent because 20 percent of our UCME goes to Mindoro,” the DOE official said. “It would be longer for Palawan though.”
The whole of Mindoro island has been plagued by various power issues. These include frequent power interruptions due to reliance on outdated power facilities, which had been further damaged by typhoons; heavily subsidized generation rates stemming from strong dependence on diesel and bunker fuel; delays in proposed energy projects; uneven electrification rates across provinces; and administrative issues of electric cooperatives serving the area.
The best and long-term solution to the inefficient power supply in the Mindoro island is the interconnection of the Mindoro to the Luzon grid, which will eventually benefit Palawan.
With the planned interconnection project, Mindoro can already source adequate and reliable power supply, and access to a more competitive generation sources in the Luzon grid. Also, with a reliable transmission backbone, Mindoro may export power through the development of renewable power in the province. Further, this will fulfill the government’s direction of interconnecting off-grid areas to the main grid. Lastly, this will prepare the country to the planned Asean power grid interconnection.
The estimated cost of the project is P16.8 billion.
The power system of Mindoro Island is presently being operated by the Small Power Utilities Group of the NPC, Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative and the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative.
With the forecasted increase in the demand for Mindoro Island, the current source of power can no longer accommodate the future load requirements.
According to NGCP documents, this issue will be resolved with the implementation of the interconnection of the Luzon grid to the Mindoro grid. The interconnection would provide Mindoro with access to “a more reliable and competitive” generation sources in the Luzon Grid, the firm’s documents read.
“By being connected to the main grid, the power quality issues which result to frequent power interruption experienced by the customers will be addressed,” it added.