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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

POWER utilities in Panay are preparing for the possible electricity shortage due to scheduled maintenance of power plants in the Visayas grid this September.

Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager, said they are awaiting word from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) regarding the preventive maintenance of certain power plants.

“It is up to the systems operator group (of the NGCP) to schedule the load shedding once these plants in the Visayas grid undergo preventive maintenance. Once we have the schedule of maintenance and the load reduction, we can make a manual load shedding scheme in our service areas,” Billena said.

Ileco 1 has a peak load of 30 megawatts which it draws from the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid and independent power producer Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC).

Billena said Capiz and Aklan might suffer the most from the load shedding if they fail to renew their respective supply contracts with the National Power Corp. (NPC).

Billena said they have minimized rotating brownouts in Ileco 1 after entering into an agreement with NGCP.

“NGCP allowed us to use excess power it draws from the Palinpinon geothermal power plant in Negros,” he added.

Gil Altamira, GBPC commercial account manager, said they are rushing the repair of Engine No. 5 of Panay Power Corp. (PPC), the sole power producer in Iloilo City.

Altamira said the engine broke down a month ago due to a damaged rotor winding. It is expected to go online on August 1, 2009.

PPC presently supplies 55MW to Iloilo City through Panay Electric Co. (PECo).

PECo also draws another 15MW from NPC. Iloilo City has a peak load demand of 82MW.

“If we can repair the engine before the scheduled maintenance of plants in the grid, Iloilo City won’t suffer from the load shedding. By then, we can supply 66MW to PECo which is enough to power the city including the 15MW from the grid,” Altamira said.

Altamira said they are hoping that the preventive maintenance of plants will not affect the 15MW the utility draws from the grid.

“If the shutdown will reduce our supply from the grid by more than 50%, we might suffer from brownouts during the scheduled maintenance,” he said.

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Ileco 1 general manager Wilfred Billena (right) and Ileco 2 president Dennis Ventilacion explain the purpose of the Panay Guimaras Power Consortium. (FAA)

Ileco 1 general manager Wilfred Billena (right) and Ileco 2 president Dennis Ventilacion explain the purpose of the Panay Guimaras Power Consortium. (FAA)

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ELECTRIC cooperatives in Panay and Guimaras are racing against time in their search for power suppliers that can provide stable electricity by 2011.

The seven electric cooperatives in Panay-Guimaras said they are facing very serious power shortage with the looming expiration of their contract with the National Power Corp. (Napocor) after 2010.

This problem prompted the cooperatives to form the Panay Guimaras Power Consortium (PGPC) that will represent their interests, especially their increasing demand for electricity.

Engr. Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager and interim consortium president, said they have been looking for power producers that can supply stable and cheap electricity to their franchise areas.

Billena yesterday led the opening of the bids submitted by five independent power producers in Panay-Guimaras areas.

Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, Ileco 2 president, said they cannot extend their power supply contract with Napocor because it is being privatized by the national government.

“They (Napocor) will not anymore renew the contract because of the privatization. We are now looking for other sources of electricity for our requirements from 2011 onwards,” Ventilacion said. 

Ventilacion said the Napocor contracts of Aklan and Capiz electric cooperatives will expire December this year “and they will have to look for their suppliers.”

“What they have now is a transition supply contract which will sustain the electricity supply to their consumers. The contract however is very limited because Napocor cannot anymore expand its capacity. This limited contract will mean a community cannot grow because of limited power supply,” Ventilacion added.

Billena said another problem besetting the cooperatives is the “assignability clause” which favors buyers of Napocor assets.

“Let us take for example the Dingle power plant. Under the assignability clause, the contract of a cooperative will be assigned to the new owner of the Dingle plant which might yield higher power rates because the plant is purely diesel. That is causing fear among the cooperatives,” Billena said.

Billena said another purpose of the consortium is to stabilize the price of electricity in Panay-Guimaras area once the proposed power plants are operational.

“To ascertain the future prices of electricity, we formed the consortium which will look and negotiate with power producers. We don’t want prices of electricity to be erratic that’s so we can plan our future growth.

Billena said they are looking for power producers that can provide electricity “24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.”

“We need a base plant considering the growth rate of the Panay-Guimaras area. That is why we are conducting the bidding so that we can get steady power supply at the cheapest cost,” he added.

A total of five power suppliers tendered their bids to PGPC including Trans-Asia Oil and the Global Business Power Corp.-DM Consunji Inc. consortium which will use coal to produce electricity.

The other bidders include firms using biomass and hydroelectric power but their bids may only be for peaking, not baseload.

Atty. Salvador Cabaluna, Ileco 1 director, said the PCPC members will evaluate the bids before they reconvene next month.

“We will evaluate the bids not just in terms of their prices but also their capability to provide stable electricity supply,” Cabaluna said.

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