The Visayan Electric Company (Veco) is poised to spend close to P500 million in the next five years to set up substations in strategic areas in Cebu to keep up with the growing demand for power within its franchise area.
Anton Mari Perdices, Veco chief operating officer, said they are looking to build one somewhere in Mandaue City, South Road Properties (SRP) and the Lahug area in Cebu City, as well as Liloan.
“We have our key account managers talk to businessmen to ask what their growing demands are, talk to government to see estimated industries that will be coming up, the timeline, and where we could build (substations) sufficient to carry power with minimal fluctuations and disruptions,” he told reporters during the groundbreaking ceremony for its newest substation and switching station in Barangay Panadtaran in San Fernando, Cebu, on Thursday.
A substation is a set of equipment that reduces the high voltage of electrical power transmission which is suitable for supply to consumers. A switching station, meanwhile, is a facility that is capable of collecting and distributing power from different sources.
With each planned substation estimated to cost between P70 million and P100 million, depending on size, the distribution utility would have to shell out close to half a billion over specified time frame.
To date, Veco has 19 operational substations across its franchise area, with the one in San Fernando set to be the 20th once it is energized by June 2018.
Engineer Noel Modesto, Veco assistant vice president for engineering support, said the substation will have a total transformation capacity of 12.5MVA at 69/23kV.
The new substation will rise on a 1,800-square-meter lot along the highway in San Fernando town, which is around 43 kilometers south of Cebu City.
“This isn’t just an important thing. For Panadtaran and the rest of the municipality, this is everything,” he said in a speech.
Modesto explained that electricity that goes to San Fernando, which is the load end of the 23kV network of the distribution utility, passes through the substation in the city of Naga 10 kilometers away.
With the new substation, power in the town will be more stable and reliable as well as have a greater capacity to complement the load growth in the southernmost part of Veco’s franchise.
Veco is the second largest distribution utility in the Philippines, only after the Manila Electric Company, with 413,890 customers in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of the greater part of the metropolitan—Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla, and San Fernando.
San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya, for her part, said they welcome this development as it comes in time for the construction of two new ports in the town.
“We are very happy because there are many projects that will happen in the town,” she said.
These include a reclamation project at Sangat Bay in Barangay Sangat to be undertaken by a private entity, details of which the mayor is not privy to, as well as a P358-million port project in Barangay South Poblacion.
Two new housing projects are also going to rise in the second income-class municipality.
Mayor Reluya said that electricity is a very important commodity and that without it, everything will be at a standstill.
At present, the southern Cebu town hosts Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc. in Barangay South Poblacion and the high-end Pulchra Resort Hotel in Barangay San Isidro.
Barangay Panadtaran Captain Ricardo Reluya, meanwhile, said that the stable power in the town will help attract more investments to the locality.
“Investors will no longer have second thoughts of putting up business here because we will have enough power,” he said.