By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

TOWNS in two Iloilo electric cooperatives suffered power blackouts because generation and distribution problems.

 

Engr. Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager, said their franchise area is suffering from rotating brownouts since Sunday after the Palinpinon Geothermal Plant in Negros and the 100-megawatt thermal power plant in Cebu.

 

Billena said they need 26MW to sustain power supply in their franchise areas “but because the two plants broke down, we had no choice but to resort to rotational brownouts.”

 

“My phone was swamped with text messages and calls from consumers who complained of prolonged brownouts. I told them that problem lies with the National Power Corp. because we only distribute power they produce,” Billena said.

 

Billena said local officials called him because the brownout occurred during their fiestas and other special events.

 

“Wakes and hospital operations were also disrupted by the brownouts. The Katamnan Festival of Oton was postponed late in the evening because there was no power. It’s embarrassing,” Billena said.

 

Billena said they expect the power situation in Iloilo and Panay to ease up in 2011 when the 164MW coal-fired power plant of Global Business Power Corp. goes online.

 

Based on data from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines last April 16, Panay’s total demand is 208MW but its capacity is only 140MW, a deficit of 68MW.

 

“If only we did not drive earlier investors in power plants, we would not be suffering this problem. We really need a baseload plant, regardless of the fuel, that will run for 24 hours, 7 days a week so we will not suffer from brownouts,” he added.

 

BUSTED SUBSTATION

 

Five towns in northern Iloilo also suffered power blackout after the substation of Ileco 3 exploded for still unknown cause.

 

Engr. Antonio Lazaraga of Ileco 3 said the towns of Sara, Ajuy, Lemery, San Dionisio, and Concepcion have no electricity.  

 

Lazaraga said they are trying to fix the substation, which was bought and installed in 1986, and restore power supply in five days.

 

Reports surfaced that the substation was bombed. The Ileco 3 management has sought the help of the PNP 608th Iloilo Provincial Mobile Group to investigate the incident.

 

Lazaraga said the substation may have exploded because it is already old.