MANILA -- Mindanao may experience rationing of electricity this year due to the drought-driving El Niño phenomenon's expected adverse impacts on power generation in hydroelectric plants there.

El Niño-fanned rainfall shortage will reduce availability of water that the hydropower plants need in generating power -- decreasing electricity production so rationing is possible, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano said.

"Hydropower energy might be affected like in 2014 and 2015 when this was rationed out," he said.

He warned about such possibility at a press conference in Quezon City this week when PAGASA announced the development of another El Niño.

PAGASA expects such El Niño to be weak and short-lived, returning to neutral condition around June this year.

Nonetheless, Malano still urged preparations for El Niño, warning that water shortage is likely to occur around the country in the forthcoming weeks due to this phenomenon.

"Mindanao is dependent on hydropower," he said, highlighting the urgency for such preparations in Mindanao.

The Department of Energy said existing power plants nationwide as of June 30, 2018 include large, small and mini hydroelectric plants in Mindanao's Davao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental provinces.

In its Feb. 20 forecast, PAGASA said Davao del Sur may experience above-normal rainfall this March, near-normal rainfall from April to June, below-normal rainfall in July and near-normal rainfall again in August.

Forecast rainfall in Lanao del Sur and Compostela Valley is below-normal this March and near-normal from April to August, PAGASA said.

It also said that Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental may experience below-normal rainfall in March and April before having near-normal rainfall from May to August.

Malano advised people to heed government advisories on El Niño and undertake ways that will mitigate its potential impacts.

"All sectors must prepare and plan what to do," he said.

PAGASA is already coordinating with local government units and relevant government agencies regarding the El Niño, he added. (PNA)