2-hour power outages burden Metro Cebu

By: Aileen Garcia-Yap, Jhunnex Napallacan February 21,2015 - 01:06 AM

Cebu private power plants cite technical problems

A second day of abrupt power shortages resulted in one to two hour brownouts in Metro Cebu   yesterday.

How long this will continue could not be answered by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines  or private power companies.

The Visayan Electric Company (Veco) which suffered a loss of 146 megawatts was forced to start rotational brownouts in its franchise area starting 9 a.m. during  peak hours of power demand.

In a statement, Veco warned consumers to be prepared for “pockets of outages until supply from power generators normalizes.”

Unlike Thursday’s 10-hour blackout in the Visayas Grid which was due to a line outage in sources in Leyte province, yesterday’s  problem was traced to  several independent Cebu power plants not being able to produce power by as much as half their usual volume.

“Of the 246 MW produced by the Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC), 120 MW supposedly should be supplied to Veco,” said Antonio Labios, regional director of the Department of Energy (DOE).

“Kepco SPC Corp. is also producing lower than its capacity of 200  MW.  It was only producing 50 MW to 100 MW yesterday,” he said.

CEDC, in a statement, said its Unit No. 2 and 3 were down due to an electrical fault in the Talavera Line Substation which affected the Veco franchise area.

“We have already resolved the situation and are waiting for  advice from NGCP when we can deliver power to the grid,” said the private firm.

A statement from Kepco SPC Corp., which  has two 100-MW plants in the City of Naga, said its engineers were working round the clock to synchronize Unit 2.

This  plant  is “still shut down due to technical problems” following the abrupt tripping off on Thursday morning when both plants were cut off from the Visayas Grid at 1:45 a.m.   Unit 1 was able to supply 50 MW back to the grid on Thursday evening.

Veco  was alerted yesterday morning about the supply shortfall by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

Affected were parts of Cebu City in Talamban, Canduman, Tawason, San Jose, Bacayan, Pulang Bato, Pit-os, Binaliw, Agsungot, Guba and mountain areas, Carreta, Mabolo, and  Hipodromo.

Parts of Mandaue City were also affected in the Reclamation area, Guizo, Mantuyong and Centro.

Veco reputation management manager Theresa Sederiosa said the private firm’s share of power curtailment was 146 MW or  60 percent of the total system shortage.

Veco consumes 60 percent of the total Visayas grid demand.

To cushion the blow, Veco called on its partner companies under the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) to activate their own generators, said Sederiosa.  This  allows  a wider sharing of Veco’s remaining power supply in the community,  avoiding longer brownouts.

Peak demand yesterday was 460 MW to 470 MW within Veco’s franchise area covering San Fernando town in the south to Liloan town in the north serving around 370,000 customers.

Thursday’s shortage happened at dawn. Veco requested for backup power from Cebu power plants and was able to energize all feeders at 6:23 a.m. of the same day.

But yesterday’s curtailment took place during peak hours, said Risa Coloyan, Veco corporate communications supervisor.

As a result, a one-hour rotational brownout was first implemented at 9 a.m., and 10 a.m. then  widened to a maximum of two hours by 12 noon.

At 1 p.m., more barangays were affected not just in Cebu City but also in Consolacion and Liloan.

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