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5% yearly hike to cope with demand — Veco

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo September 26,2016 - 09:45 PM
Dennis Verallo, Visayan Electric Company utility and economics head, discusses the firm’s thrusts and goals for Cebu during a Mega Cebu Energy Security forum (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA).

Dennis Verallo, Visayan Electric Company utility and economics head, discusses the firm’s thrusts and goals for Cebu during a Mega Cebu Energy Security forum (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA).

An electric distribution utility company plans to increase its power capacity by five percent per year to continue to enhance their services and keep a robust distribution network to keep up with Cebu’s rising urbanization.

Dennis Verallo, Visayan Electric Company (Veco) utility economics head, said in an interview last Thursday that they would be expecting the demand for electricity in their franchise area to increase by 8 percent for this year alone.

Verallo said so as a “rule of thumb,” they would need to increase their power capacity by five percent or by at least 20 megawatts (MW) to 30 MW per year from their present capacity demand of 524 MW to cope with the increasing demand.

He said that they would need this power capacity growth rate to hit the target 600 MW by 2019.

Projected growth

He also said that their 20 to 30 MW annual projected demand growth would mean that there would be about 10 to 15 high-rise buildings, which would be expected to rise in Metro Cebu in their franchise within that time frame.

“Cebu is growing at a very fast pace,” he said. “So, as a distribution utility, we need to make a more robust distribution network. A network that can cater to the increase in the demand.”

With around 400,000 Veco customers, Verallo said that their capacity expansion and service enhancement projects would cover all of their franchise areas — from Metro Cebu to San Fernando in the south and Liloan in the north.

Energy mix

He cited Veco’s mix of energy sources as a solution to this need to increase their capacity.

Being an Aboitiz Power subsidiary, he said that Veco would make use of 48 percent renewable, 40 percent coal, and 5 percent energy mix sources coming from oil-fired power plants that would be tapped to meet demand during peak hours.

Excess capacity

Despite this increasing demand, Verallo said Visayas currently has an excess capacity due to its interconnected networks of power plant sources in Leyte and Negros.

“It’s a portfolio of sources — if one power plant loses out, at least you have more or less other sources (to tap on),” he said.

He also cited plans for enhanced services which included the current uprating of their lines and making sure that these would be insulated to prevent any hazard of electrocution, which is a risk that is more compelling as their lines would

More projects

As part of their plans for enhanced services, Verallo said that they are in the process of uprating their lines and making sure that they are insulated to prevent any hazard of electrocution, a risk that would be more compelling as their lines would carry heavy loads of electricity.

Loop network

They were also doing a “loop network,” which Verallo said would help make up for electricity issues that might crop up in case a line would break as they could easily transfer it to another line in nearby locations.

He also cited using smart devices as “fault finders” to expedite locating areas where service interruptions would be happening, installing machines and other payment options to help in managing the payment of bills.

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