By Francis Allan L. Angelo


TOP energy officials and stakeholders confirmed the power shortage besetting Visayas region, particularly Panay and Negros Occidental.


The energy scenario in the region and the necessary actions that must be taken to avert the shortage was presented during the energy summit initiated by the Department of Energy at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel January 14-16.


The summit was attended by officials of the National Power Corp. (NPC), National Transmission Corp. (Transco), Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), independent power producers, distribution utilities and other stakeholders in the energy industry.


In a summit brief obtained by The Daily Guardian, Crispin “Bingbong” Lamayan, Transco assistant vice president for System Operations-Visayas, confirmed the shortage of reserved electricity in the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) power grid.


As of December 17, 2008, 7pm, Panay Island lacks 53 megawatts (MW) while Negros is short by 57MW.


Lamayan said Panay is suffering from rotating brownouts ranging from 30 minutes to 9 hours. Negros needs 240MW by 2010 on top of its present capacity of 109MW.


The Transco official also said that Cebu province lacks 291MW with Mactan Island accounting for about 65MW while the power deficit in Bohol reached 38.70MW.


The Leyte-Samar enjoys a 352.70MW surplus but it is not enough to fill in the 439.7MW total power deficit of Visayas region.


The supply coming from geothermal plants in Leyte, where the grid also gets its power needs, is also decreasing, Lamayan said in several news items last year.


The power crisis is attributed to the burgeoning business climate in the region while power sources remained the same.


What needs to be done to avert the power crisis by 2010?


Mario Pangilinan, PEMC vice president for market operations, presented the Supply Augmentation Plan which is being finalized and will be operational within the period the CNP grid is expected to suffer low electricity supply. This crisis period includes the present until 2010 when new power plants in Visayas are expected to be operational.


The summit also came up with action plans based on the needs and peculiarities of each island in Visayas.


In Panay, energy officials proposed the deployment of more NPC modular units (generator sets) to augment the island’s power supply. Another solution presented was the uprating of the Negros-Panay transmission by middle of 2010.


Another proposal is the possibility of granting renewable energy initiatives before the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9513 (Renewable Energy Law) are finalized.


Ilonggo business executive Rex Drilon, president of the Iloilo Local Economic Development Foundation who attended the summit, called for the declaration of a state of emergency in Panay given its power shortage problem.


For Negros, the development of the biomass market was encouraged.


It was also proposed that incentives will be given to renewable energy investors before the implementation of RA 9513. The rehabilitation of existing power plants in Negros must also be covered by the said incentives.


The consortium of the five electric cooperatives in Western Visayas is also seen to develop the subtransmission line and loop and improve electricity supply.