Cebu assured of ‘stable power’ this Xmas
CEBUANOS will celebrate a “bright” Christmas this year as the power outlook for the Visayas has turned positive following a series of power outages in recent months.
Anton Mari Perdices, Visayan Electric Company (Veco) chief operating officer, said the period of low power supply in the Visayas due to earthquake-damaged power generators in Leyte is “now over.”
“The power shortage is over. The facilities have been repaired. For now, we’re good. We have ample power. So long as generators in the Visayas will not go down, we’ll have power,” he said during the Power Lunch with local media in celebration of the 25th Cebu Press Freedom Week on Tuesday.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck parts of the Visayas last July 6 rendered several geothermal power plants and transmission facilities in Leyte unoperational.
This left several provinces without power and prompted Veco to implement one hour to 1.5-hour rotational interruptions to address the shortage in power supply.
Last Sept. 7, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) was able to repair and energize its Ormoc High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter station, previously damaged by the tremor, to allow power sharing between the Luzon and Visayas grids.
“NGCP is pleased to report that with this energization, the Visayas grid can now import power from Luzon to augment the grid’s power supply requirements and relieve generation deficiency from the unavailability of earthquake-affected Leyte geothermal plants,” the company said in a statement.
The Visayas grid has been on red alert for several weeks, but had a 136-MW surplus on September 8, a day after the converter station was energized.
Perdices said that while power in the Visayas has already stabilized, they can give no assurance that there will be no more power outages caused by other factors.
On average, demand for power within Veco’s franchise area ranges from 400 to 500 MW.
Veco’s franchise area includes the city of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Naga, as well as the municipalities in the greater part of Metro Cebu such as Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando.
As of July this year, the company has 416,000 customers.
The distribution utility forecasts a demand of 493 MW for September, 488 MW for October, 495 MW for November and 488 MW for December.
Among the activities that contribute to the demand for power during these months are preparations for the holidays as well as the use of Christmas lights in homes and offices.
Perdices also cited the thrust of the Department of Energy (DOE) to connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids, saying that this will help the Visayas more because there is an overabundance of power supply in Mindanao.
NGCP estimated the project to cost P51.7 billion and involves the linkup of grids in the Visayas and Mindanao through converter stations in Cebu and Zamboanga.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) gave its go signal for the transmission company to undertake the project last week.
In a statement, ERC officer-in-charge Alfredo Non said the project supported the government’s vision of interconnecting major power grids into a single national grid, which was expected to help improve the overall power supply security in the country as sharing of reserves would become possible.
He added that the project was also intended to reinforce the operation of the electricity market by maximizing the use of available energy resources and additional generation capacities in Visayas and Mindanao, including renewable energy resources.
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